Name: Byron Tully
From: Drumshanbo, Leitrim
First Winner: Step Up Son - Loughrea
The 22 year old from Leitrim spent a season with Nicky Henderson before returning to Ireland to ride in point-to-points, he had his first ride in January 2019 aboard the Aidan Fitzgerald-trained Royal Racket.
Fast forward to March 2023 and Byron recorded his first winner when steering to victory the David Walsh-trained Step Up Son to success.
How did you get started with horses?
We have always had horses at home, my auntie owns an equestrian centre back home in Leitrim and I started hunting when I was around eight.
I remember watching Kauto Star when he won his second Gold Cup and took an interest in racing, I then started riding my pony around the fields at home to get him fit to go pony racing with.
My neighbour used to shoe horses for Brian McMahon, and he was looking for someone to ride out, I was pony racing at the time, so I started riding out for him during my summer holidays.
When I finished school I went and spent a season in Nicky Henderson’s but I wanted to give point-to-pointing a go so I came home and rode out for Aidan Fitzgerald - he gave me my first ride.
I then went from there to Shark Hanlon’s where I spent three years. Shark gave me plenty of rides in point-to-points and bumpers, but there were a good few amateur riders in there at the time, so opportunities were scarce, so I went to a smaller yard to try and get more rides.
Who are you primarily based with now?
After I finished in Shark's, I started riding out for Paul Hennessy, so I am with him six mornings and then I do a few afternoon's with David Walsh.
What is the plan for Step Up Son going forward?
I think David will run him in another winners' race and then maybe go hunter chasing.
How did you come about riding for David?
David rang me one morning to school for him, it was actually Step Up Son, so I went down and met him at Duninga Gallops and he asked me if I would ride out for him a few evenings a week.
Were any of your family there on the day?
Yeah, my mother was there and my girlfriend and then Eric and Diane - my neighbours from back home were there also. It was Eric who got me my first racing job with Brian [McMahon].
What are your ambitions for the rest of the season?
I would like to ride another winner as soon as I can!
What is your favourite track?
Well, Loughrea now because I had my first winner there!
Who would be your biggest influence in racing?
I used to like watching Barry Geraghty when he rode.
Do you have any interests outside of racing?
I love Greyhound Racing, since working for Paul I’ve taken a real interest in it and I often help him out with his Greyhounds. I also enjoy going Hunting.
Is there another young rider that you think people should watch out for?
Anna Johnston. She is from England and is currently based with Aidan Fitzgerald, there aren’t many people around who would work as hard as she does.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Always believe in yourself!