Carl O’Callaghan, 34, an Irish-born horse trainer who went from homeless in New York to a horse-racing sensation, is due to saddle up Kinsale King at The Royal Ascot, the most prestigious race in Britain.
Kinsale King is probably the best dirt sprinter in the world, owned by an Irish-born physician, Dr. Patrick Sheehy, in Los Angeles.
He won a major race at the Dubai Word Cup meeting worth $3 million, and is now bound for Ascot.
The Dubai win has changed his life.
“I had five horses before Dubai and now I have 48. I’ve only had a license for a year and we’re building rapidly,” he said.
O'Callaghan, who trains in Los Angeles, left his native County Clare and came to America at just 16 years old — and immediately hit the skids.
“I was so useless at school I bought a one-way ticket there and ended up on the streets,” he recalled. “One day I woke up with just my guitar, starving hungry, and struggled into Belmont racetrack to find work. That’s how it all began.”
Kinsale King, unbeaten in four runs for O’Callaghan, will be ridden by Kieren Fallon, a fellow native of County Clare.
O’Callaghan says Kinsale King thrives on a diet of Guinness and eggs — and is in great form. Kinsale King remains unbeaten since he came under O’Callaghan’s guiding eye.
The charismatic trainer said: "He [the horse] has shipped just grand and I have kept him happy and sound. He has a lot of heart and character and he loves to run. If you take care of him and point him in the right direction then he looks after himself.
"It is great to be here and I am a bit nervous, but away we go. It does look a tough race and they are never easy — they aren't just going to sign a check with my name on it. We have got this far and we can only see."
This year’s Golden Jubilee Stakes is the second Group 1 sprint race at the prestigious meeting, and is due to take place on Saturday, June 19 at 3:50 p.m.