There’s something about Jim Culloty and Cheltenham. There’s something about Jim Culloty and big races. He just keeps on winning them – whether as a jockey or now as a trainer. He’s just landed his first Cheltenham Gold Cup as a trainer with Lord Windermere – a feat he achieved on three consecutive occasions as a jockey on Best Mate. The Killarney native rose rapidly through the ranks after he went to England to spend a year riding point-to-point races for a stable in Cornwall.
“Jim Culloty rode a total of 394 winners as a professional with big race wins including three Gold Cups, an Aintree Grand National, a King George and an Irish Grand National on Timbera – a horse with strong Currow and Cordal connections.”
He finished the season as champion novice point-to-point rider. He went on to spend two years with Jackie Retter where he rode a few winners on the track. A larger yard beckoned so he moved to Henrietta Knight’s in 1996 where he became Champion Amateur in his first season.
This success led him to turning professional and becoming stable jockey to Knight for ten years. Jim Culloty rode a total of 394 winners as a professional with big race wins including three Gold Cups, an Aintree Grand National, a King George and an Irish Grand National on Timbera – a horse with strong Currow and Cordal connections.
The latter event resulted in a great night of celebrations at the River Island Hotel.
In his retirement in July 2005 Jim turned his attention to his recently purchased farm at Mount Corbitt, Churchtown, Mallow, Co Cork. Along with taking out his trainers licence he started developing the farm into a top class National Hunt training facility.
The complex consists of a 4 ½ furlong uphill sand and fibre gallop, a four furlong round sand fibre gallop, a state of the art all-weather schooling ground, horse walkers, horse spa, a loose school as well as 300 acres of grassland.
Jim’s first winner as a trainer was on November 30th 2006 when Braun Star won at Thurles and since then he has trained in excess of 30 winners. Today’s Cheltenham winner must really be the closest he’ll get to his Best Mate days there. Today’s Gold Cup win also makes Jim Culloty only the fourth man to both ride and train winners in the great race.