“Big Blow” For McGuinness After Split With Long-Time Assistant Thorne 

McGuinness [middle] and Thorne [right] with jockey Ronan Whelan after a Pretreville won at Leopardstown for Shamrock Thoroughbreds | Racingfotos.com


Ado McGuinness has described losing 11 horses owned by Shamrock Thoroughbreds as “a big blow” after the trainer parted ways with long-time assistant and cousin Stephen Thorne. 

The split means that Thorne, who has ambitions to train in his own right, will manage the horses belonging to the syndicate alongside County Meath-based handler Jack Davison until he is granted a licence of his own. 

A Godolphin Flying Start graduate who has spent time working for some of the top trainers all over the world, Thorne returned home to Dublin to work as an assistant for McGuinness almost eight years ago. 

The pair have enjoyed massive success during that time, including Group 1 triumphs with Prix de l'Abbaye and Al Quoz Sprint winner A Case Of You, and have consistently operated inside the top 10 trainers' standings in Ireland over the past few seasons. 

The Shamrock Thoroughbred silks have been carried by smart fillies Tiger Belle and Rush Queen as well as classy handicappers Laugh A Minute, Harry's Bar and more. Among the 11 horses set to join Davison's stable is recent £100,000 breeze-up purchase Shamrock Breeze. 

McGuinness commented on Monday, “Stephen will no longer be working with me. This comes as a big blow to our yard as Stephen, who manages the Shamrock Thoroughbred Syndicate, removed all 11 of the horses belonging to that ownership group on Friday.”

He added, “Stephen has always had ambitions to train in his own right and I hope that the past seven years working under my tutelage will stand him in good stead moving forward. I wish him well in his next chapter and thank all of the Shamrock Thoroughbred shareholders for all of their support down through the years. 

“We enjoyed many unforgettable days together and some of the highlights of my career came in the winner's enclosure with some of those owners.”

Thorne has also held down assistant trainer roles with Mike de Kock and Ralph Beckett prior to working with McGuinness. He stressed that the arrangement with Davison would only be a temporary one and outlined his long-held ambitions to hold a trainer's licence of his own. 

He said, “I will be taking out my trainer's licence and hope to have my first runners in January 2025. I spent seven hugely enjoyable years working with Ado and we've had some brilliant days together. 

“Some of my best memories in racing came with Ado. I wish Ado and all of his team the best—he's one of the best conditioners of a racehorse that I know and there's no doubt that his yard will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Thorne added, “It was by no means an easy decision to make, but it has always been the plan for me to go out on my own. The horses will be trained by Jack Davison on a temporary basis until I am granted my own licence.”

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