Kevin Prendergast Still Raring To Go At The Age Of 86

Kevin Prendergast has been a leading trainer in Irish racing for over 50 years starting his training career back in 1963 and still to this day is sending out tremendous Group 1 horses.

Madhmoon came so close to giving the 86 year old his first Epsom Derby success on Saturday but it wasn't to be for the veteran trainer and with that the handler has discussed how hard it is for the smaller yards to keep competing with the big guns in the sport like people of Aidan O'Brien and John Gosden's stature.

However, this will not stop Prendergast who is now heading into his 60th year at training at the top of the sport and where most trainers at his age might have settled and been overjoyed at a second place in the Derby, which the trainer is, it has now made him want to push on an try and go close in more black type events.

(Credit Racing Post) Talking about his three year olds challenge at Epsom he said: “It would have been better had we finished number one but it was all right – it was better than finishing fourth. Listen, the buzz [of having a Group 1 horse] is always there."

The veteran trainer has won some big races in his time, mostly in Ireland landing eight Irish Classics with the most recent success coming back in 2016 in the Irish 2,000 Guineas with Awtaad.

He has won nice races in England with the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket in 1977 being a personal highlight when Nebbiolo crossed the line first but he admits it is not as easy to compete at that level anymore.

(Credit Racing Post) The handler said: “We have 35 or 40 horses every season and you're very lucky to come across a Group 1 horse in a season given you're competing with stables who have in excess of 200 and 300 horses.

“In comparison, we're operating on a shoestring and we're very, very lucky to have come up with a Group 1 horse. It's nearly impossible, and maybe it's old age with me, but I think it's getting harder and harder [to compete at the highest level].”

Madhmoon is his superstar in his yard this season and he is very excited about what the future holds for this three year old who now looks to have found his ideal trip at 1 mile 4f.

He added: “All options are open. He's in the Irish Derby and he's also in the Irish Champion Stakes and one of those will be his main priority.

"I’m still enjoying it as much as I ever have. I’m still going shooting and doing all the things I love doing. As soon as I can’t do those things, they can pull the curtain behind me, but hopefully that won’t be for a very long time."

Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum has been a saving grace for Prendergast as it wasn't for his support of sending some of his horses to the Irishman's yard he would not be able to keep his stables and be a racing trainer.

"It was a very good weekend for Derrinstown," the trainer said. "We've had two Group 1 horses for them in the last four years, Awtaad and now Madhmoon, and we have a small operation in relation to some of the bigger stables.

“Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum has supported our yard for the past 30 years and he's been a great man for us. We couldn't carry on without him, to be brutally honest. There's four or five people keeping Irish racing going and it's very, very difficult.”