- £100,313: thetote.com Galway Plate (Chase Handicap) (Grade A) – Jul 30, 2014
About Shane Shortall
Until 30 July, 2014, there were only a handful of people outside of a select band of super-keen race watchers in Ireland who had noted the talent of Shane Shortall. But by 5:40pm that day the whole of Ireland was sitting up and taking notice after the 22-year-old had scored a famous victory on the 14/1 shot Road to Riches in the Thetote.com Galway Plate, one of the biggest races on the Irish jumps racing calendar.
In the weeks leading up to the Galway Festival Shortall had started to be noticed as he time and again rode stylishly and with intelligence, even on horses who had little or no chance of winning. He gave them a good ride, the sign of a jockey who is going places. Although a conditional rider for trainer Tony Martin, it was for Noel Meade that Shortall stepped in to ride Road to Riches, a chance ride after the horse’s regular rider Ger Fox had sustained a broken collarbone in a fall just a few days before the big race.
Riding to instructions in front of the massive Galway crowd, Shortall sent his mount into the lead after just four fences of the two-and-three-quarter-mile contest that attracted a hugely competitive field of 22 runners. Despite being up against some of the best jockeys in the world, such as Tony McCoy, Barry Geraghty, and Davy Russell, he kept his cool and maintained a tremendous rhythm as he gradually sent his willing partner further and further clear over the final thee fences, eventually coming home to win by no less than 11 lengths from Turn and Burn, capturing the £100,000 winner’s prize.
Born in Castledaly in County Westmeath, Ireland, Shortall had been a keen show jumper as a teenager but decided to try his luck in Britain as a young jump jockey at the age of 19, joining the Ian Williams yard. He rode two winners from five rides before returning home and had to wait a couple of years before opportunities came his way again. He joined Tony Martin ostensibly as a work rider, not a jockey, but his talent on a horse was noted by Martin who recently began giving him opportunities to race ride. Following the Galway Plate success Shortall is now very much in demand and has ridden 20 winners in total, 14 of them already this season.
Four of Shortall’s winners (from just 14 rides) have come at the country track of Sligo, while he’s had two wins each at Galway, Limerick, Bellewstown and Killarney. Eight of his 14 winners so far this campaign have come for Tony Martin, whilst he’s also booted home a couple of winners for Norman Lee (from just nine rides), as well as his famous single strike for top trainer Noel Meade on Road to Riches .
He may well still have some way to travel on his own road to riches, but all the signs are that Shane Shortall has what it takes to be a very good jockey and punters may well make a decent profit during the 2014/15 season by following this up-and-coming young Irish rider.
Shane Shortall represents the new blood of horse racing, while legendary riders like Richard Hughes keep dominating the scene.
-  racingpost.com, Shane Shortall Record and Stats, 2015