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Dreams come true for Loughnane family with Royal Ascot-winning son Billy

Dreams come true for Loughnane family with Royal Ascot-winning son Billy
Dreams come true for Loughnane family with Royal Ascot-winning son Billy

The person most elated to see Billy Loughnane and Rashabar win the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot was not even Billy Loughnane himself.

It was not even trainer Brian Meehan or the delighted Manton Thoroughbreds outfit that own the horse. The honour is instead shared between Loughnane’s father Mark and mother Claire.

Their son, the weighing-room’s fastest rising star at just 18, already has a champion apprentice title to his name along with Listed and Group Three wins on the continent.

At Ascot on Tuesday afternoon his ascent reached new heights, as he claimed a first Royal meeting winner when guiding Rashabar to success in the Group Two Coventry Stakes at 80-1.

He was welcomed back to the parade ring by his parents, initially so overcome with emotion that they were rendered completely speechless.

When the words did come they were plentiful and effusive, with father Mark saying with tears in his eyes: “I’m shaking, this is the best day of my life. It’s the best ever day, ever, ever.

“Nothing matches this and this is what it is about. I’m a small-time trainer with not a lot of horses and not at this level. We have our first runner at Royal Ascot on Saturday, but this is what it is about.

“It’s about Billy, he’s such a talented young man and he conducts himself very very well. He’s so committed and dedicated and it’s easy for a dad to say it, but he’s so talented. As a percentage his talent is off the Richter scale.

“He does us proud every day, he is such a good lad. He’s so talented, he’s so grounded and he works so hard. Today is all about him.

“I was up there in the Royal Enclosure roaring and they were all looking at me as if I had 10 heads, but it is all about Billy today. It’s brilliant and we are so proud of him as parents.”

He continued: “The minute he was born I put him on a rocking horse and he just gelled to it.

“Yes, we are all biased towards our kids, but he is now doing what I thought he would and a lot of credit has to go to him.

“I get a lot of the credit and the limelight, but a lot of it is down to mum, she is the backbone behind me and Billy and without her he wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t be here.

“I would say he gets one per cent of his talent from his sire and 99 per cent from his dam!

“I’m never stuck for words, but I’m welling up. I was born for this, for my two lads, I can go to my grave happy now.”

Claire Loughnane added: “I’m so proud of him anyway, even before he started riding! The way he rides and the way he conducts himself is just so good.

“Lots of people have followed him since he started pony racing and it’s just great to see what he has achieved so young.”

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