Tom Queally has come a long way; and should be proud of himself; after winning the Blue Square Naussau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, riding Midday for Henry Cecil. Midday had finished second and third behind Sariska in the Investec and Irish Oaks, and Queally wore the colours of the filly’s owner/breeder, Prince Khalid Abdulla. Cecil nearly pulled the horse out at the last minute due to the very soft ground, but she was victorious even when the ground was ever-softening and conventional wisdom would have said she wouldn’t be able to cope. Cecil admits he took a chance, with Queally admitting that if it had been his choice he would have pulled her out, to which Cecil replied: ‘if you’d been riding 40 years, you probably wouldn’t have’.
Queally was born on October 8, 1984 in Dungarvan, County Wexford in the Republic of Ireland and was lucky enough to have a father who farms and trains horses, which gave Tom the opportunity to go hunting on his pony when he was just 7 years old. He tried showjumping for a while and was the leading figure on the pony racing circuit by the time he was 13. He got an apprenticeship with trainer Pat Flynn two years later and was only 15 when he won his first race on the John Roche trained Larifaari at Clonmel, Ireland on April 13, 2000. Things got even better for him quite quickly when he was crowned Irelands Champion Apprentice in the same season. However his parents insisted that he quit the apprenticeship to finish his Leaving Certificate (A level equivalent). He was then apprenticed to his father before moving on to Ballydoyle and Aidan O’Brien, which is who he won the 2003 Group Three Ballysax Stakes for on Balestrini.
In 2004 Queally moved to Britain and joined David Loder’s Newmarket stable, and within the same year added the British Apprentices’ Championship to his CV. After a couple of long bans, he went on to win the 2008 Group Three Princess Elizabeth Stakes on Derby Day at the Epsom Downs Racecourse on Lady Gloria and is now attached to Henry Cecil at the Warren Place Stable. He found himself close to a first Classic victory in the Investec Oaks, but had great success at Royal Ascot on June 20 when he stood in for suspended Jamie Spencer to ride Art Connoisseur and landed the Golden Jubilee Stakes.
This race with Midday was his third Group One winner of the season, and aged just 24, things are likely to keep getting better for Queally. As he himself says: ‘slowly but surely, we’re getting there. I’m getting to ride for most of the important trainers, and whereas in the past I've been concentrating on quantity, now the quality seems to be coming as well. You'd like to think I can crack 100 [winners] this time. But it's not the be-all and end-all. So long as you're riding well, and seen to be riding well, that's the important thing’. Very true and even truer is the fact that as Queally says: ‘What's meant for you won't pass you by.’
Photo Credit | RacingKel