InterviewMichael O'Sullivan

'I was getting on fine as an amateur - but I had no right to get the ride on Marine Nationale'

Jockey Michael O'Sullivan talks to Richard Forristal before a big date at the Dublin Racing Festival

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Richard ForristalIreland editor
Marine Nationale: not at all pressed to make a winning debut over fences
Marine Nationale jumps the final fence under Michael O'Sullivan at Leopardstown over ChristmasCredit: CAROLINE NORRIS

Watch Michael O'Sullivan in action and you see a fully formed professional riding with great conviction and conducting himself with a comparable dollop of maturity. 

He is 23 years of age with all the hallmarks of someone who has been around forever. O'Sullivan has been catapulted into the limelight by dint of his association with Marine Nationale but is not inclined to get carried away. That unflappable, level-headed trait is part of his DNA. The O'Sullivan clan of Lombardstown, north County Cork, are no-nonsense farmers and horse people who wouldn't be partial to 'notions'. In that sense, he is a product of his pedigree and environment. 

In another way, though, he has progressed against type, because the path was well trodden for him to follow in a different direction. O'Sullivan's family are immersed in the point-to-point realm. His uncle Eugene, a former champion handler, continues to unearth unpolished gems – Chris's Dream and Corbetts Cross among the more high-profile graduates of late – and the family's intimate bond with the sector is epitomised by two epic moments in what used to trade as the Foxhunter at Cheltenham in March. 

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Published on 1 February 2024inInterviews

Last updated 18:06, 1 February 2024