IRISH jockey Declan Bates moved to Australia in 2015.
Bates, 31, lives in Warrnambool with wife Jennifer and daughter Molly.
He caught up with TIM AULD and went Under The Auld Pump.
Declan, we'll talk about your first group one winner in a moment. Did your family in Ireland have a background in racing?
My dad Michael was a builder but he also trained a couple of horses. My siblings all had ponies when they were growing up. My brother Michael was a jumps jockey and rode a couple of winners before he got his trainer's license.
I finished school when I was 17 years old and always wanted to be a jockey when I was young. I started off as a jumps jockey before switching over to a flat jockey. I rode about 40 winners over the jumps. I spent about five years riding in Ireland before moving to England.
I rode about 60 flat winners in England but my career stalled. My life and that of (wife) Jennifer changed immensely in September 2015.
How did your life change in September 2015?
Jennifer and I made the decision to move to Australia. I had said previously my career had stalled back at home so we made the move over to here.
Irish-born Shane Jackson and his wife Lauren had moved to Warrnambool. I had ridden in jumps races against Shane in Ireland. We had both stayed in contact. Shane and Lauren told Jennifer and I that Warrnambool was a lovely place so we took their advice and made the move.
Initially, I was riding some work for Warrnambool trainer Symon Wilde I but after a while I started riding more track work for other Warrnambool trainers.
Have you been back to Ireland since the move in September 2015?
We've been back twice since we moved to Australia. My mum Frances has been over here twice while Jennifer's parents have been here a couple of times. Molly is only 12 weeks old so it was great that they could make the trip to see her.
It's been a difficult few months as we've got no family here. It's been a bit daunting but we're lucky to have some wonderful friends who have helped us out.
I must admit I had been pretty career focused before Molly was born but my perspective on life has changed since her birth.
We live out at Koroit and really enjoy it. There are some similarities to back home in Ireland living in Koroit. It's a great lifestyle in Koroit.
Racing is a hectic business - early mornings, long days and a lot of travelling. There's nothing better than getting home after a day at the races and chilling out.
Declan, what was your first Australian winner?
It was on the Symon Wilde-trained Dexterous at Warrnambool in November 2015. The win was a great result because Symon had given me the opportunity to ride some work and then ride some of his horses in races.
Are Jennifer and you permanent residents in Australia?
Yes. We originally came out on a working visa for one year before getting a second year and then Daniel and Denita Bowman sponsored us. Daniel and Denita have been wonderful to my family.
It's quite incredible what the Bowmans have done for us. We'll always be grateful for their help and support.
It's been well documented that I ride a lot of track work for their stable but they have given me the flexibility to ride work for other stables or to ride at race meetings when other trainers have offered me a ride.
I think there's about 30 horses in work at the Bowman stable and some of them are nice young horses.
Undoubtedly, the win of Begood Toya Mother in the group one Rupert Clarke has given the Bowman stable a bigger profile and hopefully more owners may now send horses to them to train.
Warrnambool and the surrounding district is very passionate about their racing.
All the trainers in Warrnambool are very hardworking and deserve the success they get.
Declan, you mentioned Warrnambool is very passionate about its racing and I would say you've noticed it more than other people after the wins of Begood Toya Mother. The group one-winning galloper has many local people in its ownership. Have you been stopped by many owners in the street?
Yes. Just the other day I was getting some petrol in Warrnambool and a person came over and said their mate has a share in Begood Toya Mother.
The horse has created a big buzz around the town. I think Begood Toya Mother is a great story. It shows trainers from Warrnambool can take on the big high-profile trainers in Melbourne and Sydney and can win feature races.
Did you always have a big opinion of Begood Toya Mother?
I would have to say early on I never thought he would reach the level he has.
He was a slow maturing horse early in his career.
He won his maiden in his first preparation and then had a break and came back into work a more physically stronger horse.
I thought he ran very well in the Memsie Stakes at weight-for-age before winning the Rupert Clarke Stakes.
Begood Toya Mother is now in the spelling paddock. Is there much improvement in him?
I think there's some more improvement in him. Daniel and Denita have down a wonderful job targeting the races they have with the horse.
It was a wise move by them to give the horse a spell after his Rupert Clarke win. There's some very nice races over the autumn months they will target the horse towards.
Have you based your riding style on any particular jockey?
Australia's lucky to have some wonderful jockeys. I always have a look at Kerrin McEvoy. I think he's the complete jockey.
He's well balanced and has ridden overseas with great success. He's adapted his riding to different racing styles over the world and to top it off he's a lovely bloke.