'You’ve got to be confident in your own opinion, to be frank'
Ryan Mahon is in the hot seat for the latest in our series of interviews
Name Ryan Mahon
Occupation Bloodstock agent
How and when did you become involved in racing? I became involved from a young age. My grandfather Jim Mahon was a designer of the Aircush whip. We have always had point-to-pointers and youngstock at home in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Who has been the greatest influence on your career? A combination of Paul Nicholls and Dan Skelton. I started with them and continue to work closely with them. They were the first ones to show proper confidence in my riding and they promoted me and gave me every opportunity to move forward.
What aspect of your job do you most enjoy? Seeing something you bought with potential turn into the real deal on the racecourse.
And least enjoy? Birmingham Airport! I do as much travelling as is possible. I get to all the Irish store sales, all the Irish horses-in-training sales, the sales in France and I’ve also made a few trips to Germany. I’m mostly between Ireland and France.
Best day in the business? One of my best days riding was winning the Grand Sefton on Rebel Rebellion over the National fences at Aintree. Bloodstock-wise, it was my first Graded winner with It’safreebee at Haydock last year.
What was your favourite horse you rode as a jockey and why? Rebel Rebellion because he was a savage jumper.
What prompted you to make the change from jockey to bloodstock agent? The opportunities in riding were drying up. Things were snowballing buying horses and it was working out well so it was just a natural progression. While I was still a jockey the summer season was a very quiet time so it was a good time to get into the buying side of things. I did quite a bit of work with Aiden Murphy at the first few store sales I went to and he was a great help.
Did you always see yourself becoming a bloodstock agent? I’d always seen myself doing something with horses. I thought I would be riding for a bit longer but it didn’t quite work out.
If you intended to spend £300,000 on a store, whose opinion would you seek? And who would you want to train and ride it? You’ve got to be confident in your own opinion, to be perfectly frank. The only person you’re going to be consulting with is the person you’re buying it for. If you talk to too many other agents about it they might end up sneaking it off you! As long as you put it with a trainer that is going to nurture the store and give it the best opportunity possible, there’s any number of trainers out there. Similarly, if they’re prepared well enough there's any number of jockeys who are good enough.
If you could have owned any National Hunt broodmare, past or present, who would it be? Buck’s, the dam of Big Buck’s. She produced any number of decent Graded horses such as Big Buck’s, Buck’s Boum and Buck’s Bank.
Who do you most admire in bloodstock? Highflyer. They have every angle covered. Their team covers every single aspect of buying horses from Irish to French to store horses.
What is your ambition? My first ambition is to buy a Grade 1 winner, and another ambition is to buy a Gold Cup winner.
Advice for someone hoping to get into the industry? Make friends with everyone. Anyone can be an ally or an asset.
If you could only breed to one National Hunt stallion who would it be? Kayf Tara. Obviously he had a very good Cheltenham last year.
Can you give us a tip for Cheltenham? Get there early to avoid the traffic!
Have any of your purchases got entries at the Festival? There are a couple of entries. It’safreebee is entered in two races, while El Bandit for Paul Nicholls has three entries. Although I don’t quite know which races they’ll go for yet.
Which unraced purchase of yours are you most looking forward to seeing race? There’s two. There’s a four-year-old Robin Des Champs gelding out of Milan Athlete, who is a sister to Real Milan. Paul Nicholls also has a four-year-old gelding out of Trumpet Davis. He’s a brother to Grade 2 hurdle winner Violin Davis.