Henry Harrison Jr )left) with his colleague conditioner Michael Marlowe.
Henry Harrison Jr )left) with his colleague conditioner Michael Marlowe.
Q: Tell us about your background.
HENRY HARRISON JR (HH): I grew up in horse racing from childhood as my father Henry Harrison Sr was a racehorse trainer. I am his son Henry Harrison Jr, born in Western Kingston at 94 George Street. I then moved uptown to St Andrew at the age of about nine years old due to the gun thing in the area at the time. I then left for the USA at about 11/12 years old and lived in New York for about 28 years.
Q: When did you return to Jamaica?
HH: My father lived and trained horses in Jamaica and died in 1999. When I came home, at the time, he had about three or four horses for me under his care and died shortly after I arrived in the country that same year. I left Jamaica shortly after that visit and came back here in the year 2000. Following my return, I continued living here from that time and have never been back to the States since.
Q: When did you start training horses as a profession?
HH: I got my training licence in 2007. I began my training here prosperously with a couple of good horses at my disposal, and at one point I had 13 horses at my stables. In the interim, I claimed a couple of horses. Things went up and down as I did not have any owner along but myself.  Things were like that for a while until I gathered a few people around me, trying to survive.
Q: How has training horses been working out for you?
HH: In racing, there are ups and downs when cash is not readily available to stem haemorrhaging. But I must admit that I have learned a lot during the period as I knew beforehand it is the nature of the game. Today you are up and down depending upon the quality of horses you have in your barn and the people you have around with the money to invest and make things move forward productively. Otherwise, I am not complaining as I am here...still alive. And the best thing for me is to fight and keep moving ahead as the wins come along. I take them into stride. Not every day a winner comes along. I have learned to take it in stride as it is the nature of the game that I like.
Q: Which horse was your first winner?
HH: The first horse I won with as a licensed trainer was a horse named Riggs Victory. My father’s good friend bred and gave him to me and asked me to name him after my father Henry Harrison Sr, whose pet name was Riggs. Riggs Victory then went on to win the first two races for me.
Q: What’s the best horse you have trained so far?
HH: To date, the best horse I have trained is a horse by the name of Sachin. I got that particular horse from trainer Norman Palmer and breeder Dr Paul Wright. I went on to win five races with that horse. He was the best horse that I have trained and he was well-bred. I cannot complain as I did very well with him. Other horses that came under my care were City Council who just won a while ago; Pure Heart, Tattie’s Bad Gal; My Royal, Miss Atlantic Star, and some other winners whose names I cannot recall with precision at this particular moment.
Q: Have you ever won a Classic race?
HH: I must admit, I have never had the distinct opportunity to train a Classic aspirant. I did have a worthwhile prospect working with but the owner sold that particular horse.
Q: Who was the trainer you admired most based on training styles while growing up?
HH: Philip Feanny. For me, he is the maestro when it comes to the art of preparing horses. When he finished with his subjects, they were familiarised with racing beyond compare. Arthur Sharpe was no mean finisher himself. My father was also close to Feanny when I was a kid and it was difficult not to have noticed his finished artwork.
Q: What were your activities in horse racing like while in the US?
HH: I worked as a groom at the Aqueduct race track in New York. First as a hot walker within the practice of horse management and then as a groom thoroughly before getting an assistant trainer’s licence. But after my father passed away, I then reached back to Jamaica with my American assistant trainer licence. I, however, had to go through the local Jamaican training processes and schedules before graduating as a full-fledged licensed trainer in 2007. During that time of perfecting the trade’s sequences in full in Jamaica, I owned horses that raced under the then name of Norman Rose. And following my graduation as a licensed trainer, they were then registered under my full name of Henry Harrison Jr as owner. Before graduation, my final preparatory lessons existed with trainer Anthony Smith, who left nothing unturned for a safe passage to passing out.

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