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Jim Bolger From humble beginnings

The Ex-Pat Files Irish Breeders Abroad

The Future Is Now

A Facebook Syndicate Story




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The Irish Thoroughbred SPRING 2011

Contents 05 Foreword Dr. Dean Harron ITBA Chairman

06 ON THE COVER Interview: Jim Bolger

From humble beginnings to world class race success

12 The ITBA - What's In It For Us?


The key benefits of membership

16 Interview: Jim Mernagh

National Hunt Breeder and producer of high class talent

20 Reflection: 25 Years On - Dawn Run Vs Buck House at Punchestown

A look back at the famous match race

26 Feature: Hedge Your Bets! 10 point-to-pointers to follow

29 Interview: Simon Coveney TD Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food


32 ON THE COVER The Future Is Now

A Facebook syndicate story

36 ITM News: Recent Updates

50 Breeder Profiles: Profiles from across the country 52 Report: Impact of 2011 Budget on Bloodstock Industry How new tax changes affect you

55 ON THE COVER The Ex-Pat Files: Ciaran Dunne & Harry Sweeney Irish Breeders Abroad

60 Profile: The YITBA Learn today. Lead tomorrow. 64 Feature: Flat Out!

10 to watch for the flat season

66 Interview: Eddie Lynam Eddie reflects on his career

69 Profile: Frank Boyd

Breeder and husband of Rose Boyd - part-owner of Hurricane Fly

72 Profile: Andrew Lynch A season to remember

75 Interview: Jamie Codd

The champion point-to-point jockey contender speaks

Representing Irish Bloodstock

38 A Day In The Life: Richie Galway

Richie prepares for the biggest week of the year at the track.

42 Feature: Willie McCreery The Flat Trainer’s success story

47 Feature: Thomond O’Mara

Thomond talks about life as a trainer, a breeze-up consignor and future jumping stars


Contributors Editor Ryan McElligott Articles Ryan McElligott Claire Barry David Donohue Lissa Oliver Daragh Ó Conchúir Margie McLoone Eamonn Murphy Gary O’Brien Declan McEvoy Design Dynamo

Photography Caroline Norris Healy Racing David Donohoe ITBA Shane O’Dwyer Dr. Dean Harron Joe Foley ITM Daithi Harvey I.T. Joey Cullen

The Irish Thoroughbred




Dr. Dean Harron ITBA Chairman

The ITBA remains committed to providing a service for breeders and through our new free E-magazine we reach new levels of sharing experience and knowledge, not only with our members, but with the industry as a whole. Ireland is a world leader in the bloodstock industry and the purpose of this free publication is to highlight the achievements of breeders, trainers, owners, horses and all associated with this great industry. Features in this first issue include an insight into the success of Jim Bolger; a stroll down memory lane as we relive the great match between Buck House and Dawn Run; Ciaran Dunne and Dr. Harry Sweeney highlight the success of Irish horsemen abroad; while an interview with Minister Simon Coveney illustrates our close relationship with the government as we work towards safeguarding the future of the industry. As the Dukes Report has shown, the Irish bloodstock industry is a world leader, we are the third highest producer of foals in the world, and the skills of Irish horsemen and women are recognised and revered the world over. It is up to all of us to preserve that status and to build further upon our reputation. At home, we are constantly striving to aid Irish breeders, particularly the smaller breeder, through difficult times and one of our successful initiatives has been the introduction of the NH Fillies Scheme, for which we must thank the National Hunt Committee. Our NH committee remains focused on this sector and has commissioned several reviews, which will prove of benefit to all NH breeders. The ITBA continues to sponsor the NH Fillies Scheme and point-to-points nationwide, and supports a Fillies Leasing Scheme. I am as always ably assisted by my Council members and their vast wealth of knowledge and experience from which the ITBA can draw. Specialist sub-committees include a Tax Committee, to examine and advise on the Finance Bill, Small Business Scheme, Farm Assist and the Social Inclusion Levy. The health and welfare of the horse is always paramount and a Responsible Ownership Committee works hand in hand with Horse Racing Ireland and Sport Horse Ireland. We are forever looking to the future and we need only look at our current Council members to see established, major players in this country who are paramount in bringing together the various groups necessary to carry the organisation forward. The provision of a new, free, E-magazine is an exciting development and one that we hope all breeders and industry professionals will look forward to being involved with over the coming years




For many years now he has been recognised as one of the racing greats in Ireland. From humble beginnings he has developed a world class training centre at his base in Coolcullen, Co. Carlow from which he has enjoyed big race success the world over.

The Irish Thoroughbred Interview

Jim Bolger 6

On The Cover Interview


As a trainer his exploits are the subject of universal acclaim and renown but over the course of the last 25 years Jim Bolger has also amassed a record as a breeder that is the envy of many. It is perhaps fitting that the first racehorse and winner that Bolger had was a mare in foal. Much has happened since her purchase in 1975 and his breeding wing at Redmonstown Stud in Wexford, which was initially run by his brother Paddy and now his nephew Ken, has been responsible for five individual Group 1 winners.

recalls: “I was actually in Croke Park the day Soldier Of Fortune won the Irish Derby and I started getting text messages to tell me that he had won.” “I was happy for John Magnier, Aidan (O’Brien) and Seamus (Heffernan). He won very well and I began to think if I had him I would have had a nine length margin of superiority to play with but I had won an Irish Derby already with St Jovite and I was just happy the horse won.” In a similar vein some of the top drawer fillies that helped Bolger make his name back in 1980s were sold by their owners when significant offers came in from abroad. Something which Bolger would have done had they been his own.

“I suppose the one that stands out above all the others is Teofilo. He was a dual Group 1-winning, unbeaten European Champion two-year-old. I bred his dam and trained his grandam,” says Bolger.

“I was quite realistic about that. I didn’t think if I owned these fillies I could keep them to breed from. If I owned them they would have been sold too. Give Thanks was sold for millions and Condessa was sold for a lot of money too.”

The advantages of running significant breeding and training operations in tandem has allowed the master of Coolcullen to pursue the development of families that could otherwise have been cut loose in today’s demanding and commercially driven market place.

Nonetheless the idea of offering representatives hailing from some of his best families for auction at some of Europe’s premier yearling sales remains just a fleeting thought.

“There’s one filly I have here at the moment. I bought her great grandam about 30 years ago for £400. This filly’s dam was quite useful but over the course of keeping this family there have been winners but nothing major happening. It’s going to come right from now on though.” In a similar vein he adds: “I suppose the biggest help to the breeding operation is that we are offering what you could call a cradle to grave service. Some trainers buying yearlings are under pressure to produce results quickly but we can give horses the time and chance that they need.”

“It does cross my mind from time to time if we haven’t sold as many horses as we might have done over the course of a season and the numbers start to creep up by ten or twenty. But then I know I’ll regret it and this is the source of the raw material that I get to train. This is a training operation first and a breeding one second.”

“I’ve 70 mares who will provide me with between 50 and 60 two-year-olds every year. That’s what I need to stay on track and the quality of mares is getting better all the time.”

However, commercial and pragmatic decisions still have to be taken from time to time. Two of the Group 1 winners that Bolger bred, Sholokhov and Soldier Of Fortune, were both sold privately and carried Sue Magnier’s silks to top level success for Aidan O’Brien. Meanwhile a number of other talented and choicely bred fillies have been sold on from time to time, including Daneleta the dam of his Dewhurst Stakes winner Intense Focus. “Stud fees have to be paid for and commercial decisions have to be made. Everybody who breeds, sells from time to time. You can’t keep everything. Not even the top breeders can keep everything they breed.

Developing an intimate knowledge of a particular family over the course of 30 years must surely be of substantial benefit to a trainer although this isn’t a point he dwells on too much.

“Certainly it is a help but any trainer worth his salt will know what’s going on with a horse. Some families do have traits and it can help to know them, especially if your using them with a certain type of sire all the time. For example a lot of horses from a family might like to run fresh. “Perhaps the most significant thing is that you can get families where the horses tend to be free. When you know that starting off your not going to send them up the gallop doing four furlongs upsides, instead you’ll let them canter up behind. That way the penny drops with them. If on the other hand you were doing too much with them you might never get them settled.”

“This meant that Sholokhov and Soldier Of Fortune were both sold privately to John Magnier. You have to be able to support your stallion fee outlay.”

A feature of Bolger’s career as a trainer and breeder has been his single minded approach when it comes to stallions. The early 90s were characterized by a proliferation of Nordico’s stock which then gave way to Erin’s Isle and Project Manager. He had a significant interest in the first-named while the other pair both stood at Redmondstown.

Reflecting on one of his finest achievements as a breeder, the nine length triumph of Soldier Of Fortune in the Irish Derby, Bolger

“I had too many mares for the good of my financial health

but at the same time I needed raw material to train and there was a terrific market for horses in the £15,000-£25,000 bracket. “Those sires got me winners and Nordico didn’t do many any harm. He nearly got me a Heinz winner with Malvernico and I had plenty of good winners by him. Strangely though I don’t have any broodmares by him now. “Erins Isle was a good racehorse. He was the second best three-year-old of his generation in Ireland behind King’s Lake. He was sold to the US for a lot of money and did very well out there but the people who owned him weren’t stallion men and he ended up at stud in Florida and I was able to buy him for around $30,000. “Project Manager was a cheap source of raw material and it was a similar story with Lil’s Boy. This all meant that I could cover the majority of my mares with my own stallion and then be able to send a few of the others to high profile stallions elsewhere. “I have an interesting stallion there now in Vocalised who won a Greenham Stakes and a Tetrarch Stakes for me. He’s the only source of Bold Ruler blood in Europe. Bold Ruler was a champion as a two-year-old and a racehorse that I greatly admire. He went on to sire Secretariat (a picture of the great US Champion adorns the walls of one of the barns in his main yard) and I hope that one day I could have a horse as good or good looking as he.” A similar approach with outside stallions has also been employed by Bolger and has worked spectacularly well in the case of Galileo and not so well in other cases. “Yes that is a weakness. If I’m right I don’t just want one or two. If a stallion is that good and you really like him what’s the point in having just two or three of them?” “Ahonoora was probably the first one. I bought a few of them and got people to buy them and that worked out well. On the other hand Last Tycoon was not good at all and I don’t have any Last Tycoon mares now. More recently it was Galileo who worked out very well for me and John Magnier.” Galileo was to become the sire of the Bolger bred Teofilo whose first runners have just hit the track. “I’ve around 22 two-yearolds in training by him. I’ve about 16 yearlings by him and have sent 31 mares to him this year. I believe he will be the leading first crop sire and it will be a dead heat for second between Lawman and Dylan Thomas.”

Looking back to his very first mare purchase, the horse who was to give him his first winner as a trainer, Bolger states: “The first thoroughbred I had was actually a broodmare. She was in foal when I bought her and she foaled around April. After a month we weaned her as I wanted to have her ready for the RDS”. “I bought her as lady’s hack, she was very pretty and I intended to bring her to the RDS. I used to bring her down to the Phoenix Park to exercise and after a while I thought that she might have a chance as a racehorse so I sent her to Phil Canty as this was before I had a licence. “On her first start she was beaten at the Curragh but then she won the Woodville Maiden at Gowran the day after the Horse Show and then the following year I trained her and she won a hurdle race in Roscommon. “Subsequently we did breed from her and she went to Lucifer a few times. She bred a few winners and used to get good looking stock who sold well but she wasn’t a foundation mare or anything. “I then started to keep a few of the fillies that I trained and covered them. I kept them with my brother Paddy and then I bought Redmondstown in the 1980’s which entitled the breeding operation to grow. The mares that we were keeping became a source of winners but this was all very dependent on the training business going well.” Nonetheless despite the very significant size of his breeding operation it is training where Bolger’s first loyalties still lie. “The training comes first and immediately after a race I’m just happy to have won and I’m not thinking about where the horse was bred but when I’m driving home afterwards and realise that I’ve the dam and a number of close relatives that’s quite satisfying.” “I’ve 70 mares who will provide me with between 50 and 60 two-year-olds every year. That’s what I need to stay on track and the quality of mares is getting better all the time.” Further assistance to Bolger’s breeding empire is now supplied by Equinome, a company which he co founded and is a director of. The company was established in 2009 with the aim of maximizing the genetic potential of each thoroughbred through the development and provision of genetic tests. In short to make sure the right mare goes to the right stallion. “Equinome is a big help now too and if I were starting to go to Galileo again I’d have a better system of deciding what mares to send to him.” While he is most famous for his training exploits Jim Bolger’s success as a breeder has unquestionably been a cornerstone of his career and indeed his best days in this sphere could still be ahead of him On The Cover Interview



The ITBA – What’s In It For Us? As a new publication is launched and added to the list of benefits of membership, it seems a fitting time to examine the not so obvious benefits to ITBA members and what the ITBA, through the continued support of its members, provides for the industry as a whole. Formed in 1981 in its present guise, the ITBA goes back much further, to 1926, when groups of breeders fought to be heard as one voice and originally established the Bloodstock Breeders’ Association of Ireland. Over the years a wealth of knowledge and experience has been accumulated and the active support of many of the most respected names within the industry has boosted the resources of the Association. Breeders often forget that those resources are freely available to them at the ITBA offices in Kill, where a dedicated team are always ready at the end of the phone to impart information and advice. While they may not always know the answer, you can guarantee that they’ll always know the person who will. The ITBA also has the services of a full time veterinary consultant. It’s in this sphere that the ITBA plays a most vital function in the industry, not least with the annual provision of the Code Of Practice, which does so much in preserving Ireland’s diseasefree status and retaining international trading. The Irish Equine Centre, supported by all breeders via the Foal Levy, updates the Code annually and maintains records of disease outbreaks and trends, enabling Ireland to be prepared for, and to 12



be in a strong position to prevent, any threat of disease. This is ably backed up by the ITBA through its many educational programmes and in July 2010 a symposium on Bio-Security saw a panel of internationally respected experts address a packed house in the Carton House Hotel, Maynooth, opened by then Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, highlighting the close relationship forged by the ITBA and government.

“The 2012 renewal promises to be bigger and better and is eagerly anticipated”

The Foal Levy, introduced in 2000 and the brainchild of Derek Iceton during his time as ITBA Chairman, plays a vital role in supporting the industry financially. Administered by Horse Racing Ireland, the Foal Levy reinvests all funds back into the breeding industry, supporting Irish Thoroughbred Marketing, the Equine Centre and the ITBA, without any of which the industry would have

no support, no progression and no safeguard. In addition, funds collected have gone towards such beneficiaries as the Breeders’ Prizes Scheme, Irish Farriery Authority and Irish Horse Welfare Trust. Funding to the ITBA is essentially funding to every breeder in the country. There may be small-scale breeders who never see a need to join, never attend seminars, field trips, tours or various education programmes, yet they continually reap the rewards of having a single voice representing the industry. The ITBA is continuously lobbying for Irish breeders whether in Brussels or at Government level nationally. The Association is currently working on a ‘breeders stimulus package’ encouraging the government to produce a better deal for breeders. The invaluable Dukes Report was commissioned by the ITBA in 2008 and updated in 2010, presenting the full facts and figures involved in an industry that employs in excess of 17000 people and contributes a gross value of over €1 billion per annum to the national economy, bringing 80,000 tourists to Ireland annually. The importance of this report has been reflected in the growing support and commitment of the government. Throughout the year the ITBA holds a series of educational seminars and symposiums, dealing with relevant issues within the industry and calling upon the services of respected industry leaders and experts. The seminars are later recorded and made available to all breeders, via the ITBA website, and by pamphlets posted out to members. 2011 has already seen two regional Forums take place with specific reference to National

Opening of the ITBA 2010 Expo Jan 2010 - (l-r) Expo Committee Joe Hernon, Joe Foley, Brendan Smith, Minister for Agriculture, Joe Osborne, Michael O’Hagan & Shane O’Dwyer

Hunt. The ITBA NH Committee plays a prominent role in the promotion of NH horses and has introduced such valuable help to breeders as the NH Fillies And Mares Scheme and the Fillies Leasing Scheme, and continues to support and promote this thriving sector of our industry. Education is also a particular feature of the bi-annual Expo, which in 2012 will take place at Leopardstown racecourse. In the past, the Expo has featured lectures from experts from around the world, covering all subjects from nutrition and pasture management through to genetics and employment law. The 2012 renewal promises to be bigger and better and is eagerly anticipated. As part of the strong education programme, the ITBA launched the YITBA in September 2009 and each year grants two industry apprenticeships to suitable candidates, as well as offering high profile work placement opportunities to other members. With over 200

Joe Osborne; ITBA Vice Chairman, Minister Smith, Dean Harron; ITBA Chairman

members, the YITBA is the promising future of Irish breeding. All work and no play is a recipe for stress and while we go to great lengths to ensure that’s something our horses never suffer, the ITBA is also there to ease the stress levels in breeders. The annual tours, whether day trips to visit studs, evenings at the races or long haul trips to Dubai, have become a mainstay of the social calendar, bringing breeders from across the country together for essential networking and even more essential craic! ITBA members have enjoyed escorted trips to York, Aintree, Longchamp and Meydan, as well as enlightening visits to Kildangan, Ballymacoll, Gilltown, Coolmore and Ballydoyle, not to mention the National and Regional Awards evenings and pub quizzes that pepper the social season! Such events certainly make the ITBA diary an essential item and possibly the most important of all membership benefits!

Glamorous Ladies Go Racing

Official opening of the new ITBA HQ by President McAleese


Jim Mernagh Claire Barry meets Coolamurry Stud owner Jim Mernagh whose many exploits include helping to significantly upgrade and revamp the calibre of National Hunt mares races in Ireland in recent years.

Be it as a breeder, an owner or a producer of high class talent, Coolamurry Stud owner Jim Mernagh is one of the most well known and respected figures amongst Ireland’s jump racing fraternity. Mernagh’s familiar purple and gold silks have been carried with distinction by the likes of Deep Bramble over the last 20 years while his Coolamurry Stud banner has become readily associated with producing some of the most sought after national hunt stock at the premier store sales each year. Furthermore Jim’s extensive efforts as both chairman and a member of the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association’s National Hunt committee have seen him play an instrumental role in the development of a viable programme of mares race over jumps, especially those much prized black type contests. This season a total of 30 mares bumpers will be run, one of which is a listed event at Navan and these are backed up by 62 mares only hurdles, seven of which hold graded status. In addition there are 22 chases confined to mares, five of which generate black type. Well-bred mares with a race record to match are the foundation of the industry and it is every breeder’s aim to add black type into their mare’s pedigree. Even being placed in one of those races, never mind winning, can boost a mare’s pedigree dramatically.

was quite fitting then at Limerick on March 13th that Mernagh was able to reap the rewards of his extensive efforts in helping to improve the quality of Ireland’s mares events with a pair of his own homebred mares. On a memorable afternoon for him, jockey Michael Doran and trainer Paul Nolan, the Mernagh silks were first carried to victory by Golden Sunbird in the listed Kerry Group EBF Mares Novice Hurdle. Then better still was to follow as Aura About You lowered the colours of For Bill in the Grade 3 ITBA Fillies Scheme EBF Dawn Run Mares Novice Chase. Both mares have now done more than enough to be considered very valuable breeding prospects, a point not lost on Mernagh: “I was delighted to win both races and it was great to have a double like that. Golden Sunbird is from the family of Alexander Banquet, Wither Or Which, the Gold Cup winner Looks Like Trouble and Silver Birch and they’ll make two valuable mares for breeding.” Nolan lives only a mile away from Jim and the two men have a great rapport. Jim still rides out at Tobererona Stables and said: “Both Paul and his brother James work hard and they have a great team.” Coolamurry Stud was established by Jim’s late father John. Now Mernagh, whose assistant manager is his son Paul, recalls: “There was always a farm here and my father kept a couple of broodmares. I developed it from that and the cows are long gone. Most of the land is in grass and the rest in tillage.”

Mernagh is a man who wears many hats and he understands the industry inside out. Invariably good company with a laugh and a joke for everyone he works hard behind the scenes. He runs a tight ship at Coolamurry Stud, located on 240 acres halfway between Clonroche and Enniscorthy in Co. Wexford while the I.T.B.A. has certainly benefitted from his input over the years.

“I can’t emphasise enough the work that the I.T.B.A. puts into the industry. It makes a wonderful contribution.”

It was under his chairmanship of the aforementioned I.T.B.A. committee that it was decided to have an appraisal of all the mares races in the programme with a view to upgrading the future quality of Ireland’s broodmare band by encouraging those animals to stay racing.

A private stud operation, Coolamurry is also home to the former French 2000 Guineas winner and stallion Ashkalani. “Business is quiet at the moment,” admits Jim, “it’s a numbers game though and Ashkalani has plenty of stock to run for him.”

“There are a huge amount of black type races in France so they have a big advantage over us,” says Mernagh. “But through working closely with Horse Racing Ireland we upped the value and quality of mares races in this country. It was a joint effort – the committee had a huge input into the suggestions and I was only holding the steering wheel.”

Deep Bramble is perhaps the horse that Jim is most readily associated with but his prep work for the sales has seen him guide one of the greatest Irish jumpers of recent times through a formative stage in his life. The horse in question is Moscow Flyer whom he prepared, as a four-year-old, for the 1998 Derby Sale. “He was a great horse, a smasher and you couldn’t knock him off balance,” recalls Mernagh.

In a similar vein he pays tribute to the efforts of the I.T.B.A’s contribution to the industry: “I can’t emphasise enough the work that the I.T.B.A. puts into the industry. It makes a wonderful contribution.” Given his efforts in the upgrading of mares races it

At present Jim has about 90 horses on the farm, compared to between 130 and 140 at the height of the market and Mernagh commented: “That’s too many but I’ve tried to reduce the numbers and get into more quality stock.” Reflecting on the current tribulations confronting the spectrum of the national hunt industry he added: “Jump racing has survived world wars and all types of economic depression and I’m sure it can ride the storm again”. “I can’t emphasise the importance of quality in broodmares and national hunt breeding will always have its place providing we specialise in quality. We have to up our game and that’s why we put so much emphasis on improving our races to enable us to compete with the French.” Expect Mernagh, too, to up his game in the coming weeks as Golden Sunbird and Aura About You fly the flag at the major season ending festivals Claire Barry Interview



A look back at the famous match race

The 1986 Punchestown Festival played host to an historic match the like of which we haven’t seen since. A £25,000 winner take all event, it pitted that year’s Gold Cup heroine Dawn Run against Ireland’s other chasing star of that era, Buck House, who had claimed the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham the previous afternoon. Match races appear to have become a thing of the past but the still vivid memories of this epic encounter could hopefully bring about a revival of these races in the future. The Punchestown event is one that is still talked about to this day, particularly in Paddy Mullins country and the passing of almost a quarter of a century hasn’t dimmed the memory of Dawn Run’s rider Tony Mullins who reclaimed the ride on Charmian Hill’s great mare from Jonjo O’Neill in a cruel twist of fate. He related: “A lot of people have forgotten that she went to Liverpool after Cheltenham and fell at the first under Jonjo. Shortly after that he was diagnosed with cancer and lo and behold the little boy (24 year-old Mullins) got back on her for the third time.” Mrs. Hill favoured O’Neill over Mullins when it mattered most in the latter stages of Dawn Run’s brilliant career but Tony’s viewpoint has mellowed with time. He said: “Mrs. Hill was a good owner of my father’s but she just

didn’t like my style of riding! If she had a fault it was that she felt Dawn Run couldn’t be beaten. She got caught up with the euphoria and forgot that she was dealing with a horse.”

meeting at the Curragh to ask if his father would be interested if he set up a match between Dawn Run and Buck House at Punchestown. “I went and asked him and he said: “No problem.”

Dawn Run’s owner declined to make a contribution towards any of the stake money involved in the Punchestown match which came about through yet another twist of fate. Tony explained: “A race was put on for her in Gowran but because the entry form was on a separate sheet the person making the entries in my father’s office accidentally missed it!”

With the approach having been made the Turf Club set about putting the wheels in motion and Tony recalled: “It all happened within the space of 10 days.” The Turf Club put up some of the stake, as did Seamus Purcell and Coolmore Stud and the famous match finally took place in front of a capacity crowd on April 23rd 1986.

Seamus Purcell, whose wife Phil owned Buck House had put up some of the money for that Gowran Park race, along with the racecourse with a view to attracting the two champions and Buck House duly won it in Dawn Run’s absence. A new idea, mooted by the legendary Vincent O’Brien, was hatched shortly afterwards. Tony got the shock of his life when O’Brien approached him at a flat

As Buck House’s trainer Mouse Morris said: “Being over two miles it was all set up for my fellow, trip wise but just to get them there was an achievement in itself. Luckily enough they both turned up and both horses ran a cracker. Neither of them fell which was good because that would have been an anti-climax and it gave racing a bit of a lift at the time.” Buck House was ridden by his regular jockey Tommy Reflection



Carmody and Tony Mullins knew it was going to develop into a tactical affair. He recalled: “Most trainers would have schooled their horse after falling at Liverpool but the next jump Dawn Run saw was the first in Punchestown. Both my father and myself felt that too much schooling with a buzzy filly like her would have been a mistake.”

well by two and a half lengths but couldn’t have won by another length. It was probably the most she was extended while I was riding her. “I remember coming back in afterwards with my own thoughts when I saw the crowd like a swarm of bees. I never saw as much excitement after a race and the

Tony also remembers bringing his gear out to the car before the bumper at Punchestown where “Ten or 12 lads clapped me all the way to my car. I found that very embarrassing!”

reception, probably for both horses was just unbelievable. It panned out a brilliant race with two horses going hell for leather upsides one another at the second last and it was just one of those brilliant matches where everything worked. On a personal

The brilliant mare tragically broke her neck in the French Champion Hurdle later that month and in a curious coincidence Buck House also died as a result of grass sickness that summer while enjoying a well-earned break out on grass.

Dawn Run went to France soon afterwards where she finished second in the Prix le Barka at Auteuil, her prep race for the French Champion Hurdle, a race she had won two years earlier. Tony remarked: “I said to my father afterwards there were no hard luck stories. It was just that her hurdling speed had gone and she had met a champion.”

Reliving that day at Punchestown Tony said: “I went into the parade ring and met my father. We talked about the weather as we usually did and going over to the horse all he said was just do your best but mind her – the same advice he gave me for every horse I rode for him.” The details of the race are still vivid in Tony’s memory and he recalled: “I jumped off in front and whatever anxious things were in my mind I relaxed once we jumped the first safely. Carmody came alongside me going to the last ditch to see if he could ruffle Dawn Run any little bit but she just picked up and galloped away. “She was jumping in the centre of her fences but when Tommy came up her inside at the second last she jumped out to her left. I think it was the biggest shock I got and I nearly had a stroke, having gone from planning how far we would win by to wondering if I was going to get beaten!” “Buck House quickened well into the straight and I picked up my stick to hit her once and she slowed down. We were flat out coming to the last but Dawn Run jumped the last upsides Buck House and landed running half a length in front. She won 22



“ I nearly had a stroke, having gone from planning how far we would win by to wondering if I was going to get beaten!”

level I really enjoyed beating Tommy Carmody because he really loved to win and hated getting beaten!”

Mullins commented: “I remember when Dawn Run was killed my father, the champion trainer went from having a vibrant exciting yard to a place of eerie quietness for the next six months. To the public it all might have appeared to be cool on the outside but there was a lot of worrying and stress coming up to Dawn Run’s races about all the things that could have gone wrong. Looking back we might have lovely relaxed memories of Dawn Run now but there was a lot of stress for everyone and particularly for me, being jocked on and off her.”


Hedge Your Bets! 10 point-to-pointers to follow’s Eamonn Murphy, winner of the 2010 Irish Field Naps Table, picks out his ten point-topointers to follow from this year’s season between the flags.

run of the race next time at Lingstown and, in any case, the winner there turned out to be another future bumper scorer, Its Ironic. However, Commanchewardance set the record straight at Loughbrickland on March 26th. He has displayed an ability to handle differing ground conditions, he has a bit of speed in his pedigree and possesses stamina in abundance. Has been given a bumper entry in the past and keep an eye out for him.

should have plenty of improvement in the locker and it could be worth trusting that the Tipperary handler will be proved correct.

ITALIAN MASTER 2006 b or br g Milan – Augusta Brook

Trainer – Denis Prendergast

BOLD VICKY 2006 ch m Old Vic – Bilboa

Trainer – Liam Burke

ELY BROWN 2005 b g Sunshine Street – Browneyed Daughter

Trainer – Mark Molloy As with her stable companion, Saint Roque, mentioned later, this one has a fabulous pedigree and also won at Dromahane on March 5th. She is out of the crack mare Bilboa won once on the flat and six times over jumps as well as finishing third in the 2002 Champion Hurdle. In February Bold Vicky made a most eye-catching debut when runner-up at Kildorrery and she justified oddson favouritism in style next time under Richie Harding despite jumping to her left (at the left-handed Dromahane venue). Owned and bred by Joerg Vasicek, a winning opportunity or two will surely be found for his chestnut on the track.

COMMANCHEWARDANCE 2006 b g Indian Danehill – Roundstone Dance

Trainer – Denis Murphy Many of those present at Tinahely on January 16th were struck by two horses, the subsequent dual bumper winner Mount Benbulben and this fellow. He didn’t get the 26

The Irish Thoroughbred


He is among four horses in this list to have scored at Dromahane in early March. Perhaps it isn’t prudent to hang one’s hat to such an extent on one meeting but a well-placed observer there described it as perhaps the best day’s action of the campaign on the Cork and Waterford circuit. Regardless of that, the success of the Terry Ryan, Denis Prendergast and J D Moore alliance is one of the stories of this term and the fact that the first-named was so enthusiastic about this five-year-old following his win augurs well for his future.

LEIGHINMOHR 2007 b g Catcher In The Rye – Winning Sally

Trainer – Ian Ferguson Ely Brown was listed as not sold for £10,000 at the Doncaster Bloodstock Sale held at Newbury on March 5th but his performance at Belharbour on February 12th, merits his inclusion here. He didn’t appear to be overly fancied on that occasion but he impressed under Kevin Power, quickening clear from before the final fence to beat the ordinary Noble Chic by eight lengths. The subsequent dual scorer Tax Benefit filled the third spot. Mark Molloy expressed the hope afterwards that Ely Brown

Catcher In The Rye has been making a good impression with his initial National Hunt runners

and with Leighinmohr a grandson of the 11time scorer, Winning Nora, this youngster has it on the distaff side too. There was carnage at the third last when he made a successful debut at Bennettsbridge but he avoided the trouble having jumped slickly around the inner. Unleashed by Chris Cully from the back of the last in this two and a half miler, the well related Denis Reddan-bred gelding quickened up like a good horse to beat Rally The Troops by a length.

exclusively flat one but this four-year-old was expected to make an immediate impression over three miles at Dromahane in early March. On that occasion he won in style under Derek O’Connor. Sam Curling suggested afterwards that his charge was short on experience (it just his second time galloping on grass) and that a bumper could figure on his itinerary if he wasn’t sold. Regardless, the best of Rock Of Allen is surely still to come.



2006 b g Kotashaan – Parverb

2006 b g Dr Massini – Kissantell

Trainer – John Brassil

Trainer – Michael Griffin

Saint Roque had plenty to live up to before he ever appeared being a half-brother to Kazal and Quito De La Roque and by a stallion responsible for the likes of Mikael D’Haguenet, So Young and Tarla. Anyway the five-year-old lived up to expectations in style at Dromahane in early March. Derek O’Connor donned the well-known silks of Dungarvan vet Walter Connors on the five-year-old and he won with real authority by eight lengths from Araglen Lad. Considering that his aforementioned siblings made their names in testing conditions it was encouraging to see Saint Roque sluice up on good ground. There can be no doubt that he is a fair prospect.

(now with Paul Nicholls)

THE BOG ROAD GIRL 2005 ch m Beneficial – Russian Ballerina

Trainer – Martin Fitzgerald

The County Limerick Hunt meeting at Lemonfield consistently produces horses that go on to make a name for themselves under rules, so a representative from that fixture is a must for inclusion here. One couldn’t say he is by a fashionable sire but his dam, Parverb is a half-sister to five-times winner Pariah and she has produced a winner in the shape of Betheholygobbs. Barry John Foley carried the Grand National winning Numbersixvalverde silks of Bernard Carroll on Merrion Square and he had maximum confidence in his partner as he cheekily beat the very well-tried Ballywatt by an unflattering length.

When one hears that Paul Barber was in attendance to see his subsequent scorer Rolling Aces run at Carrigtwohill in February and that on the day he bought the winner, Rocky Creek, not much more needs to be said. A towering own-brother to Tom George’s dual Grade 2 hurdle winner but unfortunately ill-fated Tell Massini, Rocky Creek was expected to do the business at the first time of asking under Derek O’Connor. He swept clear on the runin to dispose of the aforementioned Rolling Aces by four lengths with Brian Gleeson’s well regarded Bar De Ligne eight lengths adrift in third.

ROCK OF ALLEN 2007 b g Chevalier – Umlaut


Trainer – Sam Curling

2006 b g Lavirco – Moody Cloud

Trainer – Liam Burke (now with Paul Nicholls)

Punters who supported this mare as marketleader for a Navan bumper in February, when she disappointed in fifth place, may question her inclusion in a list such as this. However, anyone that was present to see her demolish the opposition at Nenagh in January won’t be in any way surprised that she remains a name for the notebook. She made most and galloped past the line a fresh horse to prevail by all of twenty lengths at the North Tipperary Foxhounds meet. She went down narrowly in a Punchestown bumper after that but at nearly 17 hands she’s unlikely to be seen at her best until she goes over an obstacle.

It has been another season to remember for graduates of the point-to-point field and there is every reason to believe that the class of 2010/11 will prove more than capable of making their presence felt on the track. By this time next year several of those mentioned above could have developed into major forces on the racecourse In recent seasons Chevalier has made his presence felt on the flat and in Rock Of Allen he has a son that promises to excel in the National Hunt arena. His immediate pedigree is an

Eamonn Murphy





Simon Coveney TD Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food




These are trying times for the thoroughbred industry as a whole and from a domestic perspective there are several issues of immediate concern. The forthcoming amendment to the Betting Act of 1931 which offers the possiblity of a sustainable funding mechanism for Irish horse racing is one. Further food for thought was supplied by the recent report of the review group, chaired by Colm McCarthy, on state assets and liabilities which recommended the sale of the Irish National Stud and the Tote as well as those racecourses owned by Horse Racing Ireland. Not only are these the issues that confront the industry but they are also central to the brief of our new Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Simon Coveney. “This is a major industry. It has been big success story and I’m determined to keep it that way on my watch,” says Mr Coveney. “We want to keep this a success and hopefully the industry will continue to grow although this won’t be easy given the budgetary constraints that we now face.” Among the many recommendations made public in the McCarthy Report in late April was the sale of the Irish National Stud – a point which was greeted with some surprise and dismay. “This was a report comissioned by government and thus it has to be read and carefully examined,” explains the Minister. “I have to say that I will read the report with an open mind but I would need a lot of convincing that selling off something like the Irish National Stud would be the right thing to do.” It should be pointed out that the McCarthy Report detailed how €5 billion could be raised through the sale of State assets while the Government has promised to dispose of up to €2bn in assets. “There will be recommendations from the report that will be implemented and then others won’t be. All this will have to be discussed around the cabinet table. 30

The Irish Thoroughbred


“I have to say that the thoroughbred industry is one where we are world leaders and I believe that there is a place for a stated-owned National Stud in order to showcase our abilities and achievements to the world.” In terms of the industry’s contribution to the State, it is responsible for an annual economic output of just short of €1bn. Furthermore it is indigenous and sustainable - qualities which will stand it in good stead over the coming years believes the Minister. “It is a major industry and a big exporting industry. Some people perceive racing and breeding as just a sport for the wealthy but this is certainly not the case.” “Ireland needs to reassess what its good at and we need to concentrate on developing those industries where we excel. The thoroughbred industry is one where we are world leaders. It’s an industry that employs 16,000 people directly and thousands more indirectly.” Interstingly Mr Coveney also drew some comparisions between the thoroughbred industry and perhaps the most important of all the areas currently under his remit. “Indigenous industries are so important. Part of my portfolio and one that I am especially excited about is the food industry. It’s the most important indigenous industry in the country and we export €8bn worth of food each year and that’s a figure that’s growing all the time. “Similarly the thoroughbred industry is a major exporting industry and the money generated from those exports comes directly back into the local and rural economies which is vitally important. “It’s worth pointing out that the majority of people breeding in Ireland are doing so from ten mares or less. At the higher end of the breeding industry we have established an internationally renowned reputation and this then feeds down to other levels. It covers a very wide and varied spectrum from a small breeding enterprise geared towards additional income for a farmer to some of the very major operations

that we have here. While being the first to admit that he is still just learning about the nuances of the Irish thoroughbred industry Mr Coveney is no stranger to being involved with horses. “I haven’t had a huge involvement on the thoroughbred side of things so far. Most of my contact with horses would have been through friends and family with showjumping and eventing. “My brother-in-law has a livery yard and runs a riding school and I’d have a pretty good understanding of the animal husbandry side of things.” The future funding of racing in this country has become an oft discussed topic in recent years. There was a time not so long ago where betting receipts from the previous year proved sufficient to fund the Horse Racing and Greyhound Fund. This was back in 2001 when the near €59m of the fund came exclusively from betting receipts. This year the fund of almost €57.3m is made up of €31m in betting receipts while the remainder coming from the exchequer. It is hoped that the forthcoming ammendment to the 1931 Betting Act will help to remedy this situation and on this topic the Minister has some forthright views. “The legislation is more or less ready to go. Hopefully this will be before the Dail in the next few weeks and hopefully we will have something in place by the end of the year. We have a situation where there is a one percent tax on all bets and that is being extended to online betting. “We need to find a way of introducing a tax on online betting which won’t drive punters away. We want to find a system that is reliable and enforceable and ideally we need to have a situation were the horse racing and greyhound industries should be able to fund themselves. Speaking quite candidly on the matter he adds: “To my mind and this is a personal view and not a government one, a one percent tax on betting in not appropriate. It’s not so long ago that we had a ten percent tax on betting but as a result of the last government that is no longer the case”.

The Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund Y ear

A mount p aid out of H &G F und in y ear

Betting d uty rec eipts in p rec ed ing y ear

E x ch e q u e r top-up





58. 888

58. 888

0 .0 0 0


68. 066

53. 601

1 4 .4 6 5


64. 186

47. 955

1 6 .2 3 1


66. 914

38. 422

2 8 .4 9 2


68. 350

45. 552

2 2 .7 9 8


70. 059

45. 850

2 4 .2 0 9


73. 111

54. 296

1 8 .8 1 5


76. 286

36. 400

3 9 .8 8 6


68. 128

36. 700

3 1 .4 2 8


59. 264

31. 000

2 8 .2 6 4


57. 290

31. 000

2 6 .2 9 0





“If you have somebody who spends €1000 on petrol then €580 of that money comes back to the government. If you have €1000 on a horse only €10 goes to the government. Personally I don’t think that’s appropriate. “What we need to do is to find a concrete and reliable fuding system for the industry which allows it to keep pace with its international competitors and yet one which doesn’t harm to the betting industry which of course a major employer in the country as well.” In conclusion he adds: “We’re a small country but with the thoroughbred industry we’ve created something special and its something we need and can remain a world leader at.”




Feature The thoroughbred industry and technology A Facebook Syndicate Story When 26 year-old, Dublin-based investment banker, Michael O’ Callaghan was made redundant by Ulster Bank in September 2009 he decided to have a career rethink. As an avid racegoer he decided to look first at the world of horse racing. ‘I realised that horse racing is the only sport where the average spectator can make the transition from spectator to participant. You can go to watch Manchester United play, but you will never play at Old Trafford, and you’ll never win the league. But you can go to Leopardstown as a racegoer, and if you group together with 20 other like minded racegoers you can make that transition to owner, potentially at the very highest level.’ However, as a racegoer, with no direct connection to the industry, Michael also knew that a big gap existed between the trainer and the ordinary racegoer. ‘I began to think that if this gap could be bridged trainers could acquire new owners, and racegoers could step across into the world of horse ownership, thus deepening their connection to the industry.’ As an avid Facebook user, Michael felt that social media was the tool with which make this connection. He wondered if there might be a business idea in it. As he researched the industry further he discovered that few Irish trainers had websites. ‘Of those who had websites, Ger Lyons was leading the way with a constantly updated site linked to Facebook and Twitter. Most other trainers either had no websites at all or seldom updated their websites. It seemed to me only a matter of time before this changed, out of necessity.’ The business idea began to solidify. It would be based around the concept of helping trainers to utilise websites and social media to

strengthen their profile in the industry, and to embrace the racegoer as a potential client. Michael’s first move was to learn web design. ‘I wasn’t going to commit to a degree course, so I decided to teach myself.’ In mid-2010 Michael approached Irish trainers with his business idea. He offered to create custom-built websites, giving his time for free and only charging for the basic costs associated with website registration. He would then charge E100 per month to update the site on a weekly basis and to introduce social media elements such as Facebook and Twitter. For his business model to work Michael needed to hit a target of twenty trainers. His first Irish client was Waterford trainer, Henry De Bromhead. ‘When Michael rang me,’ says Henry, ‘I said ‘phone me back when I have a winner and I’m in a good mood.’ Every time we did well Michael would get in touch, or even if we just had a fancied runner. That told me that he knew his stuff.’ Once Henry’s website was up and running Michael lost no time in creating a Facebook presence, linked from the website. He then asked Henry to consider the idea of setting up a syndicate through Facebook. ‘I suggested that the syndicate be based upon the principal that the syndicate members would be given the same options as sole owners. This meant that rather than buying into pre-determined horses, syndicate members would choose the horses themselves, how the horse would be acquired (store purchase, sales purchase), the horses name, the syndicate On The Cover Feature



member of the syndicate and explained what had happened.’ Both Michael and Henry were concerned that this tragedy could sink the project, but their concern was short-lived. ‘The following day,’ says Michael, ‘the number one question on the Facebook forum was ‘when can we start again? It was testament to the spirit of the syndicate and the bond that had formed between them, even though they had only met once in the flesh.’

Marshall Dillon

The syndicate have since acquired a second acquisition, a mare with Facebook Syndicate members at Henry de previous form, whom Bromhead’s open morning. they hope will run at the Listowel festival in colours, future race targets, etc.’ September. For Ciaran, the experience has yielded a much deeper Henry liked the idea and in connection to the sport than he had ever October 2010 Michael and Henry imagined. He now rides out occasionally launched the Social Network Syndicate. at Henry De Bromhead’s Knockeen Within weeks they had 20 members. The Stables in preparation for his first ride in group decided, through Facebook, to a charity race at Punchestown in 2012. raise twenty thousand euros, pricing each ‘Henry has agreed to let me ride out from five percent share at €1,000 each, with time to time. He and the staff at Knockeen an €80 per month, all inclusive payment couldn’t be nicer.’ thereafter. One of the Social Network Syndicate members is Ciaran De Barra, a 23 year-old, trainee accountant. ‘A few of my mates had added Henry on Facebook so I decided to add him too . Then I got a ‘feeler message’ from Michael regarding the Social Network syndicate, with a breakdown of the cost. I thought, ‘this is not going to break the bank.’

‘It was a fantastic day out,’ says Ciaran, ‘and it was great to connect with the other 19 members (age 19 - 62) whom I had been communicating with on Facebook.’ Fate struck an early blow however, when a canonbone fracture ended Marshall Dillon’s career. ‘They dealt with the situation very well,’ says Ciaran. ‘Henry rang ever On The Cover Feature


To promote the concept of using social media to promote horse ownership in Ireland Michael contacted HRI, outlining his work to date, and offering his services for free. He is yet to hear back from them. Despite the fact that Michael (who is currently pursuing a diploma in web design) also counts Rebecca Curtis, Philip Fenton and Ralph Beckett as his clients, he has ultimately failed to acquire the 20 trainers needed to make the venture viable. ‘I will probably go back into banking,’ he says more with than a hint of disappointment tingeing his voice. ‘I took 14 months to test the waters but unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a career in it.’

“You can go to watch Manchester United play, but you will never play at Old can go to Leopardstown as a racegoer, and with 20 other like minded racegoers you can make that transition to owner, potentially at the very highest level.”

The syndicate’s first horse, a 4yo gelding called Marshall Dillon finished second on his first start in a Tramore bumper.


They will also attend the major store sales at Goffs and Tattersalls Ireland before making a decision regarding their acquisition via Facebook. Having set up two syndicates in the space of six months, and brought 85 new people to ownership in Ireland, Michael says he would love to see the industry use social media as a way to promote horse racing. ‘Horse Racing Ireland statistics show that the average punter spends €129 when they goes racing. 85 times that figure brings in €11,000 .’

For Michael, the experience of setting up The Social Network Syndicate confirmed his belief that every racegoer is a potential owner. ‘Upon reaching 2000 ‘friends’ on Facebook we decided to launch our Facebook 2000 club.’ Within six weeks of launching the new syndicate the Facebook 2000 Club was full. The 65 members then decided to raise a budget of €26,000 for their first acquisition, pricing the shares at €400 per member. Henry and Michael have already hosted an open morning where the members looked at some horses.

He provisionally plans to emigrate in September. Henry De Bromhead is also disappointed that Michael is being forced to walk away from the industry which he loves, and obviously understands so well. ‘During the worst recession in Irish history Michael has managed to bring two new horses into our yard and to bring 85 individuals into the world of horse racing. This is a great achievement.’

One of the great thinkers of our age, Steve Jobs, Director of Mackintosh believes that ‘ideas people’ are the most valuable of all personnel, in any industry, anywhere. If the Irish racing industry believes that it can afford to allow a man with the passion and vision of Michael O’ Callaghan to return to the banking sector, to work for money rather than love, it may well become an industry that, unlike Henry De Bromhead’s Facebook page, will soon be without a friend David Donohue


Social media are media for social and business interaction, using highly accessible and scalable communication techniques. Social media is the use of webbased and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue. Following is a breakdown of the most popular of services available today. FACEBOOK

Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004. As of January 2011, Facebook has more than 600 million active users. Users may create a personal profile, add other users as friends, and exchange messages. Additionally, users may join common interest user groups, organized by workplace, school or college, or other characteristics.


Twitter enables users to send and read textbased posts composed of up to 140 characters, called tweets, which are displayed on the user’s profile page. Users can subscribe to other users’ tweets – this is known as following. Users can tweet via the Twitter website or via smartphones. While the service is free, accessing it through SMS may incur phone service provider fees.


Digg is a social news website. It’s cornerstone function consists of letting people vote stories up or down, called digging and burying, respectively. Digg’s former popularity prompted the creation of other social networking sites with story submission and voting systems. Quantcast estimates Digg’s monthly U.S. unique visits at 8.5 million. Digg also has a feature integrating Facebook Connect with Digg. The Digg integration with Facebook connect allows users of Digg and Facebook to connect their accounts.


YouTube is a videosharing website on which users can upload, share, and view videos, including movie clips, TV clips, and music videos, as well as amateur content such as video blogging and short original videos. Most of the content on YouTube has been uploaded by individuals, although media corporations including CBS, BBC, Vevo, Hulu and other organizations offer some of their material via the site, as part of the YouTube partnership program.


Reddit is a social news website. Users have the option to submit links to content on the Internet or submit “self” posts that contain original, usersubmitted text. Other users may then vote the posted links “up” or “down” with the most successful links gaining prominence by reaching the front page. In addition, users can comment on the posted links and reply to other commentators consequently forming an online community. Source: Wikipedia

Association Of Irish Racehorse Owners C/o ITBA Headquarters, Greenhills, Kill, Co Kildare, Tel: 045/878173

Important Message to All Racehorse Owners If you are not already a member of AIRO, join today and Don’t miss out on the important benefit of third party liability insurance cover. Membership of AIRO includes automatic 3rd party liability cover from fall of hammer* for yearlings purchased at the sales as well as other horses that you may have in training. The scheme provides cover in the event that your horse causes damage or injury to a third party, up to a limit of €6million*

Annual Membership costs just €65 and includes other benefits. For further information, call AIRO on 045/878173. Email: or visit *Terms and conditions apply

The function of the Irish Stablestaff Association is to represent and secure the rights of stablestaff in Ireland and to negotiate on their behalf. We also promote and attract new stablestaff to the racing industry.

Irish Stablestaff Association Curragh house, Dublin Road, Kildare, Co. Kildare. Ph: 045-531911 Fax: 045-530639 Web:

ITM News Recent Updates IRISH THOROUGHBRED MARKETING ITM GOING PLACES The ITM team lead by Chief Executive Michael O’Hagan consists of Daithí Harvey, Caroline Kennedy, Rolline Kavanagh and Italy based Mark O’Hanlon. Each one is passionate about the racing and breeding industry and are well known for their energy and enthusiasm. The organisation in particular is renowned for the high level of hospitality afforded to overseas visitors to Irish bloodstock sales and Irish race meetings.

FUNCTIONS In addition to representing the Irish bloodstock industry abroad and promoting the success of Irish bloodstock ITM also: •

Promotes Ireland as the country of choice to conduct bloodstock business. This extends beyond buying a horse and includes putting a horse in training, buying a stud farm or availing of the renowned Irish educational system (RACE, Irish National Stud Course, Darley Flying Start, etc)

Operates an Inward Buyer Programme that allows overseas purchasers of Irish bloodstock to claim a contribution towards their travel expenses.

Provides visa assistance to, and books accommodation for overseas clients coming to Ireland to purchase bloodstock.

Actively promotes the individual Irish sales dates to overseas clients through advertising (print, on-line, television), text messaging, social media and face to face contact.

The ITM team could never be accused of sitting on their laurels and since the beginning of the year they have been flying the Irish flag in both existing and emerging markets such as The UK, Italy, Spain and further afield in UAE, Chile, Korea and Turkmenistan. Michael O’Hagan’s trip to Chile in March was quite interesting. Six broodmares that were bought in Goffs last November were sold at public auction and each one was sold on for a significant profit. The exercise was a great advertisement for Irish bloodstock and one that should hopefully lead to an increase in bloodstock trade between the two countries. Going to these countries is all very well but it is no use going unless you meet the right people and make a positive impact on behalf of the Irish bloodstock industry. One trip which certainly bore fruit was a trade mission last year to China. As a direct consequence of this trip ITM will welcome a delegation of Chinese bloodstock investors to Ireland during the Punchestown Festival. The Chinese bloodstock market has massive potential and the ITM team will be going to great lengths to ensure the visitors see the very best of what Ireland has to offer. During what promises to be a hectic week at Punchestown, not only will ITM entertain Chinese and Polish guests but also the usual visiting party of UK owners and trainers whose annual raids have made Punchestown very much the Irish version of Cheltenham.

NEW ITM INITIATIVES 1. POINT TO POINT BONUS Over the years the Irish point to point fields


The Irish Thoroughbred


Michael & Chinese owner Jiang Wenjun in Dubai

Daithi & Rolline with Nigel Twiston-Davies have unearthed some of racings brightest stars and ITM are keen to promote the success of such high profile point to point graduates like Peddlers Cross, Imperial Commander, First Lieutenant and many more. It is interesting to note that many of these top class horses won 4yo maidens, a fact which counters the old fashioned preconception of the backward, late maturing Irish bred steeplechaser. This fact coupled with the recent fashion of French bred horses in Ireland and the UK prompted ITM to sponsor a bonus scheme for a series of 4yo maiden point to points culminating in a 4yo Future Champions Race at the Meath & Tara fixture held at Tattersalls on May 1st. The winning owner of this particular race receives a bonus of €5,000, making it the most valuable point to point ever run. In addition to the 4yo race there will be two 5yo maidens on the card and ITM consider the day an ideal opportunity to showcase young potentially high class chasers. A select sale of point to pointers and horses in training will be held at Tattersalls sales complex after the racing and ITM are working hard to attract a number of key UK buyers to both the point to point and the sale. Its timing in conjunction with the Punchestown Festival makes it an attractive opportunity for UK buyers to attend. Also taking advantage of an increasingly popular Punchestown Festival are Goffs who this year revive their Punchestown NH sale that takes place after racing on May 5th. The success of both sales is very much dependant on the

calibre of horse in the catalogue so it is hoped that Irish trainers and consignors support the sale with the type of horses Ireland is renowned for producing.

2. PROPERTY LISTING Having been approached on numerous occasions during overseas trips by clients seeking information on equine properties for sale or lease in Ireland, ITM decided to go one step further and introduce a dedicated property section on their website The section, called ‘Invest in Ireland’ features a selection of stud farms, country homes and training yards that are currently available for sale on the Irish property market. Foreign investment into the Irish bloodstock industry is not a new development with the Maktoum Family, HH The Aga Khan, The Haefner Family and Khalid Abdullah to name but a few of the worlds leading breeders to have stud farms in Ireland. The decision of these breeders to choose Ireland is a resounding vote of confidence in the Irish bloodstock industry and it ensures that other potential investors around the world will consider Ireland as a base. ITM aims to make it as easy as possible for people to access information about what is available in Ireland and so far there have been a number of referrals to estate agents from overseas interest.

Chile - Broodmare Sale 3. PROMOTING RACEHORSE OWNERSHIP The promotion of racehorse ownership in Ireland has returned as the ITM remit, given the decline in ownership numbers, in recent years. This task is particularly suited to ITM as there will be a new focus on attracting overseas owners to Ireland, as well as enhancing the current experience for existing owners. ITM’s experience in providing hospitality for overseas visitors to the Irish Sales and their own experiences when racing abroad, are key factors. ITM plan to undertake a two-step approach, firstly focusing on improving the race-day experience for existing owners, which is key to the second step of attracting new owners into the industry. A particular initiative will also be to approach overseas based owners with horses in training in the UK, to encourage them to put horses in training in Ireland. A key objective in attracting new owners, is to ensure that ITM is the recognized point of contact in the industry for anybody considering ownership, and initiatives to promote this will include regional ownership seminars, trainer open days, video promotion piece (to be shown at all Irish racecourses and on all industry websites) and local advertising. The most critical element is to get the product right before trying to promote it. To that end ITM have already begun to liaise with Irish racecourses in an effort to make the race-day experience more memorable for owners, without whom this great sport would not survive ITM News



A Day In The Life

Richie Galway Racing Manager of Punc hestown Racecourse

David Donohue spends a day with Punchestown’s Racing Manager Richie Galway as he prepares for the biggest week of the year at the track. 38

A Day In The Life


Richie Galway leads me into his office at Punchestown Racecourse for our noon appointment with three and a half hours of ‘gofering’ already behind him. ‘Gofer’ is how Richie (35), with 13 years behind him as Racing Manager of Punchestown racecourse, describes his role. But, as he talks me through his day it becomes clear that his self-description is about as accurate as if I were to describe Punchestown’s upcoming Irish National Hunt Festival as ‘just a few days of horse racing.’ Anybody who has enjoyed the spectacle that is the Punchestown festival knows that while the racing provides the highlight of the National Hunt calendar for the passionate fan, it also caters for those who just want to be entertained, transported by a racing festival atmosphere, given a few spring days to remember. And while Richie’s title is ‘Racing Manager,’ the demands of running a five day festival, which regularly attracts over 90,000 people, means that he must keep abreast of all the pieces of the jigsaw on a daily basis. Let’s start when Richie began his day, at 8.30am on this overcast spring morning with the festival less than a month away. “At this time of the year the first thing I do every morning is to walk the course with Sean Ryan, the course foreman. We discuss everything from the track layout to the positioning of fences, grass growth and rainfall.’ Following a kind spring and some recent rain Richie and Sean are particularly happy with the grass covering on the track and the conditions underneath. However, with the festival’s early May slot this year (later than most years), and dry weather forecast, Richie believes that the need to water the track before the meeting begins is a foregone conclusion. “When it comes to watering we like to err on the side of caution. I would rather be criticised for ground that has been over-watered and slow than have a horse break down because the ground is too quick.” With the recent Grand National fatalities highlighting the dangers of the sport, his policy is well supported but as he alludes to, there are trainers who feel that their good-to-firm loving animals are disadvantaged by watering, in favour of horses who prefer an ease in the ground. “Our view is that Punchestown is a National Hunt Festival aimed at attracting the National Hunt horse, which is traditionally a soft ground horse,” he says Richie in a tone that suggests that this is a mantra rather than a defence. “The summer National Hunt season begins the day after our festival closes.” What strikes me about Richie Galway is the fervour and clarity with which he speaks about every aspect of his job, and the sense that he embraces the demands and pressures of the job with the passion of a man who loves what he does. It comes as no surprise then, when I ask Richie about his formative years, that he tells me about a year spent working for Jim Bolger. A year which I sense may have informed his work ethic, not to mention testing his commitment to the racing game as a career of choice. “It was the best education and the best year of my life,” he says. A formal education followed in the U.K. where Richie studied and earned a degree in Agricultural Science. This led

to a stint working for Weatherby’s during which board-member, Dermot Cox, the father of David Cox (Baroda Stud) whom Richie had befriended at College, informed him of the position of Racing Manager at Punchestown. Back to the present and following his trek around the course Richie was straight into his 9am meeting with Dick O’ Sullivan, Punchestown’s General Manager, Shona Dreaper (PR and Overseas Runners Manager) plus the other members of the Punchestown team, regarding sponsorship for the festival. Over the five days of this year’s meeting (May 3rd – 7th), 37 sponsors will lend their support to races, the best dressed ladies competition and the leading rider and trainer competitions.

“When it comes to watering we like to err on the side of caution. I would rather be criticised for ground that has been overwatered and slow than have a horse break down because the ground is too quick.”

“Traditionally, Punchestown has had long relationships with sponsors, but in recent years some sponsors have had to pull out. Those who have continued to sponsor us, plus our new sponsors, have pressured us to give better value and to optimise the potential for publicity for their businesses.” This meant making changes, the most visible of which has been the shifting of the time racing begins, from 2.30pm to 3.40pm, with a daily feature race time of 5.30, the prime time slot for TV audiences. “The result of this move is that the RTE viewing figures have increased by 20% which has pleased both the sponsors and RTE.” The main sponsors on each day of the Festival this year are Boylesports, Guinness, Ladbrokes and Rabobank. Family day on Saturday, an initiative that began in 2008 is sponsored by AES. “Family day is not about profit,” says Richie who, with a twoyear-old son of his own, has the benefit of a parent’s perspective to buoy his enthusiasm for this initiative. “We work with schools and parents to bring the younger generation to the races and give them a day to remember. Last year we had 5,000 children on family day. To me, it’s one of our greatest achievements.” Richie’s 11am meeting this morning was with Ryan’s Event Cleaners where plans for the five days were confirmed and financial negotiations concluded. This afternoon’s main appointment is with the Gardai, where the issues up for discussion include bar opening and closing times and traffic management through the site. The day’s schedule discussed, I ask him about the Goffs Punchestown Sale which is being launched this year, the first of its kind in Ireland. ‘Goffs approached us and asked us to introduce a sale at the races on Goffs Land Rover Bumper day. Goffs will recruit the horses for the sale, which will be horses in training with current form, and compile the catalogue.’ He sees this new initiative as another example of Punchestown’s willingness to change with a view to enhancing the festival not just for the racegoers and sponsors but for the owners and trainers also. Galway agrees that for most racing fans the essential ingredients for a National Hunt racing Festival are high class, competitive races featuring the stars of the National Hunt arena from here and Britain. But recruiting big names means hard work. ‘Shona Dreaper, Dick O’ Sullivan and myself liaise with trainers on an on-going basis to encourage them to bring their best horses to Punchestown. Willie Mullins is a great supporter, as are Paul The Irish Thoroughbred



Nicholls, Nicky Henderson, Philip Hobbs and Nigel Twiston Davies.’ However, nothing is taken for granted: ‘We attend Cheltenham and Aintree to ensure that all the top trainers are targeted and if we feel it is necessary we will visit trainer’s yards to continue the conversation that began at the racecourse.’

“We work with schools and parents to bring the younger generation to the races and give them a day to remember. To me, it’s one of our greatest achievements.” One trainer’s yard which he visits regularly is the yard of his motherin-law, Jessica Harrington. On a recent visit to the yard I spotted Richie riding out Roberto Goldback as the horse prepared for a tilt at Cheltenham’s Ryanair Chase. Richie’s association with the in-laws doesn’t stop there however, as he and his wife Emma, who runs the office for her Mother, also house ‘sick and young stock’ for Jessica’s husband, Johnny, at their home in Grangecon. He didn’t need to employ too much persuasion to convince Jessica to run her crack hurdler, Oscar’s Well at Punchestown and he is equally excited about her decision to run Laughing Lashes in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket two days before Punchestown commences. Initially owned by the McElroy Racing Syndicate, set up by Richie and his friends, David Cox and Ben McElroy, Laughing Lashes’ 40

A Day In The Life


juvenile career yielded a Group 2 win and a second in the Moyglare Stakes. The syndicate then sold the filly to Betty Moran, the owner of former Grand National winner, Papillon, to be trained by Jessica for the Guineas. “She’s an incredible trainer,” Richie says of Jessica, with an enthusiasm only matched by that with which he speaks about his job. As well as courting trainers, owners and sponsors, Galway and his team are always looking for new ways to court the racegoer. In this regard nothing is taken for granted. He credits Shona Dreaper with the innovative running of the Punchestown Festival website which has helped to keep the weekly attendance figures above the 90,000 mark (93,000 last year). “Our website traffic has grown dramatically over the past few years, through our early bird incentives, our free reserved enclosure upgrades and free betting and food vouchers.” Richie also believes that bringing caterers, Dobbins and Madigans on board has been has been a hugely positive move in terms of increasing quality and value for customers. “The Punchestown Festival has changed quite dramatically in the space of three years during the downturn, but I would like to think that we have been successful in maintaining the vital ingredients that have made the festival what it is.” Roll on the first week of May David Donohue


Willie McCreery The Flat Trainer’s success story




It is almost three years since Toasted Special gave Willie McCreery his first winner as a trainer in a sprint handicap at Cork and the intervening period has seen the Kildare man make understated but steady progress through the training ranks. Formerly a star midfielder in the Kildare football team which reached the All Ireland Final in 1998, McCreery comes from a background steeped in racing. As he embarks on his fourth season with a licence the only question many have is why the 43-year-old took so long to strike out a training career of his own. “My father told me never to train and I suppose I heeded his advice for 40 years,” jokes the trainer, who has 35 horses under his care at Rathbride Stables on the Curragh – the base from which the late John Mulhern sent out a host of high profile winners. “I suppose I did always want to train but it’s not the easiest thing to start out doing. If you’re a jockey starting out you get a claim which begins at ten pounds and by the time you’ve ridden out your claim you’ve got a lot of experience behind you. “As a trainer you just start out by having runners and chances are that your first runner could be competing against horses trained by some of the best trainers in the world. It’s a significant step to go out on your own and start training.” After working at home McCreery spent six months with John Muldoon at Giltown Stud before spells in Japan and Australia (with Bart Cummings) before he returned to Ireland to work as head man for Charles O’Brien. Subsequently he ran the pre-training operation at Kildangan Stud before then managing Huma Park Stud when Elusive City and Rakti stood there. 44

The Irish Thoroughbred


Huma Park then became Iona Park and it was as a private trainer to that outfit that McCreery started out with a licence in 2008 before he had to go out on his own on the Curragh at the start of 2010. “Finding myself out on my own was a shock to the system and initially it’s all about keeping your head above water. At times like that you’re worrying about everything.” Given that his father trained the dual Champion Chase winner Hilly Way, the crack hurdler Daring Run and the high class staying chaser Seskin Bridge it is perhaps something of a surprise that McCreery did not opt to go down the national hunt route. “I would have around half a dozen dual purpose horses who you could call summer jumpers and the likes of Alpine Glade have been very good to us. “But the other side of that is if I started out training and went off and bought half a dozen stores to run in bumpers it could be up to twelve months before they were in a position to reach the track. “When you buy a yearling there’s a chance that you could have them on a racecourse within a few months of the season beginning and that in turn could help your profile.” At the start of 2010 McCreery was the sole owner of four yearlings that he had bought the previous autumn, a potentially problematic scenario for a trainer still trying to carve out a niche for himself in an environment that was as competitive as it was challenging. “It was less than ideal to be owning those horses myself. We put together a deal where we sold two of them to a syndicate and the deal was an all in one for the season. “As it happened both horses won for us. Lightening Thief won twice and then we sold him to Hong Kong. Colour Of Love won at Dundalk late in the season and she has now won again for us this year. “We’ve replaced Lightening Thief with a sprint handicapper, Bank On Black. There’s plenty of races for her to run in throughout the

summer. Sometimes with two-year-olds you mightn’t be going to the races all that much so we didn’t want to lose any impetus by not having a horse that we could bring racing regularly for the syndicate.” The syndicate represented by Colour Of Love and now Bank On Black is the GAA Legends Syndicate which includes John Tobin, a former All Ireland winner for Galway. Reflecting on his GAA background McCreery feels that it has aided his cause in his new career. “It’s definitely a help, it gets you an introduction and some people can place you straight away and call you whatever they want but I have found that background a help.” It is a long way from ideal that the timing of McCreery’s training career has coincided with a dramatic downturn in the country’s fortunes but that has helped to concentrate the mind on certain issues. “The way things are means that you are watching absolutely every penny that goes out the door and you’re very aware of the general situation. “When your dealing with suppliers you’re making sure that you’re getting full value and the people putting horses in training do

want some value for money too – if their horse is no good they’re happy to take them away. “Similarly staff are eager to work and I’m sure that applies across the board. There’s much less incidence of people not turning in for work on a Monday morning or turning up late. “I would also have to say that in what is a very difficult time I’ve been lucky to get some great local support off a lot of breeders who are based in the area.” In terms of his facilities and those whose help he can draw on McCreery is surrounded by the terrific spectrum of facilities that are offered by the Curragh and twice a week leading jockey Keagan Latham, who partners his runners on the track when available, rides work for him. “You’ve got everything you need here and every facility is on your doorstep. The gallop I use is just 500 yards out the gate. The schooling grounds are a little further away and it’s only a ten minute hack to the Old Vic.” After recording double figure tallies for the last two season’s McCreery is hoping for another industrious season. “We had 17 winners altogether throughout 2010 and hopefully we might do a bit better again this year,” he says just a day before the gambled on Big Tex got him off the mark for 2011 at Dundalk in late March. This season brings with it fresh challenges and McCreery is aware of the task in trying to reach the significant 20 winner mark, particularly in an industry that sees names famous the world over doing battle every day. “I drive the box to the races myself and when you pull into the car park the first boxes you see there are Aidan O’Brien, Dermot Weld and Jim Bolger’s. It’s a great challenge and one that I like. Also there’s great camaraderie and this is an industry of eternal optimists and, at the moment, that’s not a bad environment to find yourself in.” Steady and sustained progress have been the hallmarks of Willie McCreery’s training career to date and his progress over the next number of months should be well worth keeping a very close eye on

Croke Park Glory Days, 1998 Feature




Thomond O’Mara Thomond O’Mara talks to Ryan McElligott about life as a trainer, a breeze-up consignor and future jumping stars. Feature



Since he first struck out on his own almost 20 years ago Thomond O’Mara’s all encompassing approach to the thoroughbed industry has allowed his base at Knockanglass outside Fethard in Co. Tipperary to emerge as renowned source of future talent. A prominent flat breeze-up consignor who offers 25 two-year-olds for auction every year, O’Mara starts out each point-to-point season with around a dozen unraced pointers while he also trains a string of around 12 horses for the track. “We have quite a lot going on here all year round but I love it, especially the training, and I wouldn’t change anything,” says Cork-born O’Mara. “I suppose it’s a question of having everything at a level where you can manage it and the numbers that we have in terms of the breeze-ups, the pointers and the racehorses enable us to manage things well.” In recent years O’Mara has been responsible for producing some high class performers under both the flat and national hunt codes and this in turn has had its benefits. Among the former Knockanglass inmates to have made a notable impact on the international stage are the Group 1 Criterium International winner Zafisio, the triple American Grade 1 scorer Grand Couterier, the Prix Jean Prat runner-up Oiseau De Feu and, on the jumping front, this year’s valiant Champion Hurdle runner-up Peddlers Cross. Interestingly Grand Couturier and Oiseau De Feu both provided O’Mara with a reasonable profit on their yearling price when they came under the hammer while Zafisio actually failed to sell in the ring. However the success of these and others such as the Royal Ascot winner Marine Commando has had beneficial consequences. “They sold satisfactorily but they were good value for the people that bought them. You can’t put a price on selling winners and good horses though.

After he left school O’Mara spent time with Jim Bolger and Tommy Stack before he then decided to set up on his own. This period also saw him ride a Killarney bumper winner for Danny O’Connell in July 1992 which coincidentally turned out to be a half-brother to the dam of Peddlers Cross. “My family kept a few mares and I was always interested in horses but there was no major plan after I left school, things just evolved really and the training came first.” Not long after he started training O’Mara took his first step into the breeze-up market in the mid nineties at a time when it was operating at an altogether different level from where it is at nowadays. “I bought a couple of colts at Doncaster. They were by Don’t Forget Me and Shalford and cost very little money. The next spring they made around twelve grand combined. I thought I was made up! There have been plenty of harsh lessons since then though and you learn quickly when your spending your own money.” Since he first began his involvement in the breezeup scene O’Mara has seen much change and a lot of it for the better as this sphere became recognised as a reliable source of future talent. “It’s become a lot more competitive and professional. Things have changed dramatically and largely for the better. Confidence has grown as the number of good horses coming out of the breeze-up has increased. “A few years ago it got very hard to buy them as yearlings, they were costing more and everyone was having to play at a higher level. Since the downturn things have become a bit more sensible with regard to buying breeze-up horses. Also as the good horses have come out of those sales confidence has grown. “Every year now there’s some very good horses that come out of the breeze-ups and we’ve seen with the likes of Speciosa, who was sold by Willie Browne, that you can get classic horses out of it. I remember when Pat Doyle got 70,000gns for a Clantime horse in around 1998 we couldn’t believe it and then the following year Gay O’Callaghan got 99,000gns for a Phone Trick horse which was a record at the time.”

As the breeze-up scene gathered momentum a noticeable aspect of it was the proliferation of the “Good horses will sell other ones for you and progeny of somewhat obscure we’ve been lucky enough over the last few American sires although the last years to have sold a couple of good stakes couple of years has perhaps horses every year and the people who bought witnessed a return to more them are then happy to come back again.” European orientated stock. “I go to Keeneland every year and its hard not to buy there when However, it has taken a while to arrive at this the dollar is relatively weak but I’d say that there has stage. Having initially started out as a trainer only probably been a move away from the more obscure O’Mara had to overcome the stigma attached to one who American sires. held a training licence but was selling breeze-up horses at the same time. “Most of the horses that we have in training “You have to remember that a lot of trainers now here are ones that didn’t sell but it took a while for people like to do their own shopping in America at the yearling to come around to that way of thinking. I guess the belief sales. They have gotten more familiar with sires and would have been that ‘surely if these are any good he’ll families and they know what they want. keep them to train himself’ and likewise there would have been a perception for a while that our point-to-pointers “Another factor has to be the yearling bonus wouldn’t improve when they moved on.” scheme. It’s a help when your’re selling a horse with the “Good horses will sell other ones for you and we’ve been lucky enough over the last few years to have sold a couple of good stakes horses every year and the people who bought them are then happy to come back again.”


The Irish Thoroughbred


Peddlers Cross en route to victory for O’Mara on his point-to-point debut at Liscarroll incentive centive for the purchaser of him getting a £10,000 cheque when the horse breaks his maiden. “Selectivity is a word we hear a lot and the market is a selective one and its driven by the quality of the breeze but there is confidence in the product we are producing and if trainers are going to buy one speculatively I think that they might sooner do it with a breeze-up horse than a yearling.” The other significant arm of O’Mara’s operation is his point-to-point division from which Peddlers Cross emerged when he won a point in Liscarroll just over two years ago. The well documented downturn in the national hunt market has hit the pointing community hard but after a tough couple of years he does feel that there is cause for optimism. “When we sold Peddlers Cross at Cheltenham he made £100,000. Any day you get that price is a good day but he was the second highest rated four-year-old of his generation and in previous years you might have been expecting a good deal more for him.

lot of the major jumping owners have been busy this yea year in trying to buy the best young pointers. For those top pointers I’d say that things are better now than they have been. On the other hand the middle and lower market is a bit like it is for everything else be it houses or cars. “Irish pointers have had a great year. Cheltenham was great for them and I would say that the major exodus of buyers switching to France is slackening off. Irish horses will stand the test of time and people are coming around to seeing that way of thinking. The quality of horse emerging from the point-to-point field is very strong and that’s certainly a healthy thing.” Thomond O’Mara interests have diversified significantly since he first took out a licence to train nearly 20 years ago and with the Knockanglass name becoming increasingly synonymous with high class runners on the track the decision to cover a broad swathe of the industry looks a sound one Ryan McElligott

“I think that things are improving though and a Feature



Breeder Profiles Profiles from across the country 2011 has certainly gotten off to a bright start for Irish breeders and for a number of them March was a month that will live long in the memory. Margie McLoone caught up with several of our Cheltenham Festival-winning breeders. KENI LWORTH HOUSE STUD

possible, is to breed from sound, winning mares.

March for some means Cheltenham, for others Dubai and this year for Kenilworth House Stud both venues were of notable significance.

“It has been difficult choosing stallions within a budget as purchasers, especially in the National Hunt game, have become very polarised towards about half a dozen proven sires. “I feel buyers are putting too much emphasis on the sire and ignoring damlines. National Hunt fillies are not being catered for enough on the racecourse and as a result are being treated like second class citizens in the sales ring.”

To the Cotswolds first, and the Tipperary nursery was responsible for the Arthur Moore-trained What A Charm who carried the well known colours of Chris Jones to victory in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle. Meanwhile in Dubai it was the turn of the four-yearold Mufarrh. Under the care of Ali Rashid Al Raihe, he won twice at Meydan in February and, on World Cup night, finished second in the Godolphin Mile. While March was a memorable month for the farm, 2011 started brightly courtesy of the progeny of one of the farm’s former stalwart mares, the late Ebony Jane. The former Irish National winner passed away in 2010 but her sons The Minack, Definity and Gansey have all won this year. As well as those winners Ebony Jane’s legacy will live on with some of her other offspring. Kenilworth are breeding out of her point-to-point winning daughter Amber Light while another daughter, Ebony Palm (by Great Palm) is in training with Liam Burke.

LOI S EADI E The concluding day of the Cheltenham Festival saw Co. Fermanagh-based Lois Eadie realise the aspirations held by every national hunt breeder when Bobs Worth won the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle. Bobs Worth is the second foal out of the 1999 King’s Theatre mare Fashionista, who Lois formerly owned before selling her privately in 2009 to Co Kilkenny breeder Godfrey Greene. Happily for Lois the mare produced fillies by Bob Back, Great Palm and Luso before her sale.

At the stud, retired Swiss industrialist Joerg Vasicek and his Welsh-born wife, Diana, have in total four flat and eight national hunt mares. Joerg takes a huge interest in the stud and enjoys nothing more than watching the foals and older horses grow and develop both physically and mentally. Like many other studs, Kenilworth have seen their mares numbers drop somewhat lately, as Ross explains: “Over the last couple of years we have retired a couple of old mares and rested late foalers’’. “Everyone has been guilty of overproduction but we try to liken ourselves to a boutique not a supermarket. Our policy, when 50

The Irish Thoroughbred


Kenilworth House Stud - Ebony Jane with her son Definity

Interestingly, last month’s Cheltenham triumph was not the first time that Lois Eadie’s name has been associated with a top jumper as she was also responsible for the high class Kings Road. A former Nigel Twiston-Davies inmate, he won a Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury, two Grade 1s over hurdles and a pair of champion bumpers during a distinguished career. In addition to her breeding interests Lois is also an excellent artist whose landscapes of Fermanagh and seascapes of Donegal have been exhibited across Northern Ireland - the interest in painting being developed during her childhood in Dublin. Nowadays Lois feels that one mare is as much as she can manage on her own and the horse in question is the Aga Khan-bred Dabiyra. The latter is a Linamix half-sister to Dabiroun who won the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham several years ago. Already the dam of fillies by Milan and Presenting, Dabiyra then produced a Trans Island colt the day after Bobs Worth’s Cheltenham heroics. The colt was born at Arctic Tack Stud in Wexford as he was due during Cheltenham when Lois and husband Ronald were paying their first ever visit to Prestbury Park. The Wexford connection is one developed over time by Lois who has always visited the county to source hunters and ponies for clients in England. In fact, it was Tim Nolan of the Jamestown House Stud who helped her find Fashionista, a good looking, correct mare and just the model she likes. A member of the ITBA for many years during which time she has also served on the Northern Region committee, Lois stresses that for any horse to realise its potential, it needs to be with a top trainer.

MARY O’CONNOR We always knew he was going to be special as his dam was six weeks and two days over her time when he was born!” So Tallow breeder Mary O’Connor recalls First Lieutenant’s arrival into the world. He is the first foal of the dual bumper winner Fourstargale who was bred and trained at the O’Connors’ Lough Na Sollis Stud.

Lois Eadie with Bobs Worth as a foal. “We started cutting back about four years ago. The older mares weren’t replaced and these days you’ve got to have a mare that has raced and won. The other mares we have here are Cool N Calm (dam of Ponmeoath), who’s in foal to Daylami, and Parkdota, who had a filly foal by Presenting the other day.” “I suppose we’re the fools to keep breeding them but I do think the stallion men are going to have to reduce the fees for filly foals. As far as most people are concerned, it’s a disaster if your mare has a filly. “Getting your colt foals into the right hands is also very important. You like to see them go on and do well as it’s risky for people to hold on to them until they’re three or four.” Mary and husband John have four daughters who all share their interest in horses. There are five five-year-old pointers at the stud and these are under the care of their daughter Eudora. “She really does all the hard work but has great back up from her sisters two of whom are nurses. Georgina is in a local practice and comes here every afternoon while Patricia gets home from Cork every weekend. “There’s a vet in the family too, Nicola, though we don’t seem to be able to get her to call as often as we’d like as she’s so busy.”

Fourstargale herself was also the first foal of her dam, the seven-time winner Sea Gale, whom Mary had tried to buy as a foal. She lost out then but purchased the daughter of Strong Gale privately in 1996 when her racing career came to an end.

Margie McLoone

First Lieutenant’s early destiny was always going to lie in the sales ring as Mary explains: “We sell the colts as foals but, as you’d get nothing for a filly foal, we hold on to them until they’re three; at least then, if you’ve a good one, you’ve some chance.” At Tattersalls Ireland in November 2005, the Presenting colt made €26,000 when purchased by Redpender Stud and three years later he returned to that ring to top the Derby Sale when Margaret O’Toole bought him on behalf of Gigginstown House Stud for €255,000. The rest, as they say, is history. Fourstargale, who is carrying a Presenting full sibling to First Lieutenant, is one of three broodmares at Lough Na Sollis. Previously there were up to ten mares on the farm when among the horses bred there was the teak tough mare Grimley Gale, a winner of 16 point-to-points and 10 hunters’ chases in Britain.

Mary O’Connor Breeder Profiles



Report Impact of 2011 Budget on Bloodstock Industry Declan McEvoy shows how new tax changes affect you




The main tax changes announced in Budget 2011 and the subsequent finance bill impacting on the industry are as follows: STOCK RELIEF Stock Relief has been used extensively by Horse Breeders and the Budget announced that the normal 25% and the special Young Trained Farmers Stock Relief of 100% are being extended to 31st December 2012 subject to clearance from the European Commission under State Aid Rules.

GIFT & INHERITANCE TAX REDUCTIONS The tax exempt amounts which may be transferred tax-free have been reduced by 20% as follows: 201 0

INCOME TAX, PRSI AND NEW UNIVERSAL SOCIAL CHARGE The main tax rates remain unaltered at 20% and 41% but the health and income levies are to be abolished and replaced by a new Universal Social Charge commencing at 2% and up to 7% on earnings in excess of €16,016 and as a result of the finance bill income in excess of €100,000 will attract a rate 0f 10%. Normal capital allowances will be allowed as a deduction in calculating the new charge but not pension contributions.

Impact of these changes

A single person with a taxable income of €15,000 in 2010 was liable to combined income tax and PRSI and levies (before tax credits) of 23% in 2010 and now sees that increase to 28% in 2011. For an individual earning €26,000 in 2010 the rate is 25% compared with 31% in 2011. For a single individual earning €75,000 in 2010 the combined rate is 53% but drops to 52% in 2011.A person earning in excess of €100,000 will now pay an effective rate of 55%.

Wh er e th e pe r so n receiving has th e fo llo w i n g r e la ti onship t o t he giver.

From 07/12/10

G r ou p A (Child, orphaned grandchild, favourite nephew)



G r ou p B (Parent receiving a gift, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, niece/nephew)




G r ou p C (Any other relationship)



Income Tax Credits have been reduced by 10% across the board as has the low income exemption limits for those 65 years of age and over.

In January 2009 a child could have received €542,544 tax-free from their parents and it is now reduced to €332,084 i.e. a 38% decrease. Of all of the taxation proposals impacting the Farming and Bloodstock sector the dramatic reduction in the tax exempt amount of 38% and the language used in the Capital Taxation proposals in the National Recovery Plan to abolish/restrict Capital Tax Reliefs causes the greatest apprehension.

STAMP DUTY RELIEFS Transfer of site to child

The Stamp Duty Relief on the transfer to a child of a site of up to 1 acre has been terminated with effect from 8th December 2010. It is worth noting that the Capital Gains Tax Relief has remained in place.

Consolidation Relief Uncertainty hangs over the future of the Stamp Duty Relief for land sales and purchases resulting in consolidation of a farmers holding occurring within 18 months in the period commencing July 1st 2007 to June 30th 2011. This relief will cease on June 30th 2011 unless it is renewed in the forthcoming Finance Bill. The Minister made no reference to renewing the relief in his Budget speech. The relief was not renewed in the finance bill and is due to expire at 30th June 2011.

RESIDENTIAL With effect from 8th December 2010 the stamp duty rate for transfers of residential property is being reduced to 1% on properties valued up to €1m, with 2% applying to amounts over €1m. This represents a dramatic reduction. There is no change in the Stamp Duty rates on transfers of agricultural land.

The most sizeable impact will be felt by single persons earning up to €32,000 and middle income earning married couples.

The standard rate of income tax remains unchanged at 20% and the marginal rate at 41%. However, the 20% rate band has been reduced from €36,400 (single person) to €32,800 (2011) and for married couples proportionately. The impact of these changes will be to increase the number of persons taxable and to transfer more taxpayers from the 20% rate to 41%.

PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS The National Recovery Plan signposted a phased reduction in income tax relief for payments into pension funds. The ceiling on earnings which can be tax relieved has been reduced from €150,000 to €115,000. The rate at which income tax relief can be claimed remains at 41% for 2011 but will be reduced to 20% over the years 2012, 2013 and 2014. We await developments from the new government as to whether any changes will be made to this.

PROPERTY RELIEFS Section 23 type property reliefs allowed individuals to invest in “tax designated properties” allowing the capital cost of those investments to be offset against all rental income. For some farmers this allowed them to shelter land rents from tax. With effect from 1st January 2011 this relief will be restricted to income from the “tax designated” property itself i.e. it will be ring-fenced and the allowance will not be allowed against rental income from other property.

HOME ENERGY EFFICIENCY INCENTIVE The Budget proposes a new scheme to encourage individuals to make their homes more energy efficient by way of a tax relief to be given up to a maximum expenditure of €10,000 at the 20% standard rate of income tax. The credit will be given in the tax year following the year of expenditure. Report




It is proposed that the standard rate of vat (21%) will be as follows:

Tax Y ear Sing l e





2 014





2 3%

BUSINESS EXPANSION SCHEME BES Relief is a euro for euro tax relief for investment in certain types of companies. The maximum amount which qualifies for the relief in any one year is €150,000. Investment may be made either directly into a qualifying company or into a designated fund which itself invests into qualifying BES companies. The investment must be for a minimum 5 year period and must not contain a guarantee of return of your capital. The 2011 Budget stated BES is to be revamped and renamed as the Employment and Investment Incentive Scheme to come into effect once necessary approval from the European Commission has been received. The new scheme will be targeted and evaluated against jobs created or retained. In addition to the changes outlined in the 2011 Budget the following changes have been signposted in the National Recovery Plan 2011-2014 which will materially impact on individual farmers income and capital tax liabilities.

CAPITAL TAXES The structures and thresholds in the Gift, Inheritance and Capital Gains Tax systems will be reformed in 2012. In addition, reliefs and exemptions from Capital Gains Tax, Gift Tax, Inheritance Tax and Stamp Duty will either be abolished or greatly restricted. This was commenced in the 2011 Budget by reducing the tax free gift and inheritance tax thresholds by 20%.

For non-vat registered farmers availing of the flat rate refund it is hoped that the flat rate refund will be increased to reflect the increase.

INCOME TAX Proposed cut in tax relief on pension payments A phased reduction in the income tax relief for payments into pension funds is proposed over the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 from 41% to 20%. Assuming the reduction is evenly distributed over these years the tax relief for pension contributions will be: Tax Y ear





2 014

R ate of inc ome tax rel ief






C eil ing on earning s w h ic h c an be tax rel iev ed






Mortgage Interest Relief

Interest on loans taken out after 1st January 2013 to purchase one’s principle private residence will not qualify for income tax relief.

Income Tax Age Credit

In 2012:

- The current single capital gains tax rate of 25% will be changed to a system of differing rates for different levels of gains. - The existing single gift and inheritance tax rate of 25% will be changed to a system of differing rates for different levels of gifts and inheritances. - Stamp Duty reliefs and exemptions will either be abolished or greatly restricted. OF ALL OF THE TAXATION PROPOSALS IMPACTING THE FARMING/ BLOODSTOCK SECTOR THE LANGUAGE USED IN THE CAPITAL TAXATION PROPOSALS CAUSES THE GREATEST APPREHENSION.

(Age 65 and over) The tax credit available to single/widowed persons (€325) and married couples (€650) where they have attained 65 years of age will be phased out over 4 years and likely to be as follows: Tax Y ear





2 014

Sing l e






M arried




€16 0



Income Tax Age Exemption


Rather than value dwelling houses and commercial buildings it is proposed to tax the value of the site on which they stand. From 2012 an interim site value tax will be introduced applicable to all land, other than agricultural land and land subject to commercial rates. As an interim measure, in 2012, the site value tax will be a flat €100 per annum per site with the final site value tax to be introduced in 2013 when valuations have been completed.

Vehicle Registration Tax - Motor Vehicles

The level of motor vehicle registration tax is now linked to CO2 emissions which in 2008 replaced engine size as the basis for charging Vehicle Registration Tax. With effect from 2013 a revised CO2 Band and Rate Structure will be introduced to reflect technological advances by Car Manufacturers in light of overall reductions in CO2 emission levels. 54

The Irish Thoroughbred


(Age 65 and over) Currently persons age 65 and over, where income does not exceed the following limits are completely exempt from Income Tax with marginal relief for those exceeding the limits. Tax Y ear


2 011

Sing l e/W id ow ed pers on

€20, 000


M arried

€40, 000


It is proposed that the exemption be phased out over the years 2011 to 2014 Declan McEvoy Senior Tax Consultant IFAC Accountants

The Ex-Pat Files Irish Breeders Abroad

Ciaran Dunne Wavertree Stables Ocala Florida USA

Dr. Harry Sweeney Paca Paca Farm Japan

On The Cover Feature



Ciaran Dunne Ciaran has lived in the States since 1987, which explains the soft American accent that he seems surprised to learn that he has. He grew up in Kildare town, where his father worked for 50 years at the Japanese Gardens and fondly recalls working around the Gardens while growing up. Surprisingly, he had no contact with horses until leaving school, but remains indebted to John Clarke for giving him a start in the industry. “The National Stud course was my first time working with horses,” he explains. “From there I went to work at Eyrefield Lodge Stud, then I moved to Newmarket and worked at Lanwades Stud and Brook Stud.” With an ever-present laugh in his voice, he reveals, “I must have been an absolute nightmare as an employee! Having employees of my own now has taught me what a bad one I was!” In 1987 Ciaran contacted all the major consignors and ended up in Kentucky, working at Margaux Stud. He moved on to Tommy Skiffington, where now Cork-based trainer Niall O’Callaghan, was assistant trainer. It proved a good association and when Niall set up on his own as a trainer, Ciaran spent another three or four years with him at the track. “I ended up in Maryland with my wife,” he recalls. “She was working for a sales company there. When the company transferred to Ocala, I set up Wavertree Farm. That would have been in 1995.” 16 years later and Wavertree Farm is one of the biggest consignors, specialising in “I must have been the breeze-up sales.

spark. The next syndicate doubled its money. These days we have two to three syndicates of a $1million plus.” Wavertree’s first major success came through the top mare, Zostig, and six Gr.1 champions have followed since, namely Honeyrider, Devil May Care, Careless Jewel, Suni, Easiest Gentleman and Shakespeare. “I’m very proud of Shakespeare. He was only ever beaten once in his life, he really was a wonderful horse.” Proud though he is of Shakespeare, it was the filly Devil May Care who provided him with his biggest thrill. “When Devil May Care ran in the Kentucky Derby last year she had really neat owners who insisted we come. It was one of the most exciting experiences of my life, to walk across that outfield with her. She didn’t win, but it was just so great to be there.” Many of the horses Ciaran consigns go to Japan and he is responsible for a number of Japanese Graded Stakes winners. “The Japanese pay much more attention to how they run and when they run well they come back to buy more. A client took us on vacation there and we went round the tracks and stables and the guys actually knew who we were. They’d come up to us and say, I bought a horse from you.” Even more staggering was a trip to Tokyo: “We passed a little corner shop in Tokyo and there on the magazine stand, on the front page, was a photo of one of my grooms leading out a horse in Keeneland! It was their equivalent of our Horses In Training, but the Japanese version actually has photos of every single two-year-old in training!” And on the subject of Japan, Ciaran continues: “There seems to be a prejudice in America against Japan, because we see so many horses we send there just disappear. But the reality is they take such good care of their horses that if there’s the smallest sign of a problem they send them home. They’re willing to wait and give the horse time, before bringing it back. I actually think they’re much better at looking after their horses than we are.”

an absolute nightmare as an employee! Having employees of my own now has taught me what a bad one I was!”

“We have been very lucky. Niall was very good to us and sent us a lot of young horses to break. It’s always easier to attract clients when there are heads looking out over the stable door. We were blessed with having really good owners at the start and most of those owners we still have, which is very good. We have expanded together. The key to any success is having good owners.” The whole focus of Wavertree is on breezeups. Lay-ups and horses for breaking are taken, “to pay the bills”, but from the outset the business has been pin-hooking. They break around 125-150 horses each year and sell 60-70. “We go to pretty much every yearling sale, Washington, Texas, all of them. The only advantage we’ve got on anyone else is that we would see everything. If someone misses one we’re there to pick it up. When we buy, the last thing we look at is pedigree. It’s not about what the horse is worth, it’s what it costs to buy on the day. Mark Edmonds, from Newbridge, Kildare, has been my assistant for 13 years. Between Mark, Amy and me we see every yearling.” Ciaran has never been afraid to tackle the top end of the market and was quick to utilise partnerships in order to compete at the highest level.

“Our first partnership was formed with a bunch of Irish construction workers from Chicago. They were great guys! We had $230,000 to spend on five horses, put together with 25-30 people, it was a management nightmare! “We sold all five, one filly fetched $260,000 and another one made $150,000, it was a really big 56

The Irish Thoroughbred


Like everyone, everywhere, Wavertree has been affected by a poor economy. “We set up at just the right time,” Ciaran acknowledges, “the economy was on the up and it was a good time.”

“The problem with pinhooking is that when you get it right you get paid off, and in the past you could afford to make some mistakes. The market has tightened so much now that the margins are no longer there, even when you get it right, you’re not making the rewards. You just can’t afford to make mistakes. Everyone has got to temper their buying. I’m the worst, I just see something and buy it! A huge buy now is $300,000, $400,000, whereas it was a million six years ago. We all need to become better horse buyers and a lot more picky.” Ciaran is fortunate in that Wavertree is now an established business: “We’re not fighting in the trenches for every horse we buy and we’re not on the phone looking for owners to pay their bills”. Success is a nice position to be in and Ciaran acknowledges all who have helped him along the way. “Mark is one of the family, if he wasn’t there we wouldn’t be here. People have been good to me along the way. The National Stud course was the biggest thing, it’s amazing the people you met on that who are still influential.” Perhaps the biggest influence on Ciaran’s success has been the country he chose to settle in. “I became an American citizen two years ago and I’m very proud to be one. Here in America, everything is possible. Until you prove you can’t do it, you can. There’s no one there to say no. I think it was Al Pacino in the movie Scarface who said, ‘This America has been very good to me.’ That’s a great quote. This America has been very good to me.”

Dr. Harry Sweeney According to Dr. Harry Sweeney, known to many in Ireland through his weekly international racing reports in The Irish Field, there is only one big player in the Japanese thoroughbred industry and the rest are minnows. However, as minnows go, his farm is one of the larger ones. Harry has lived in Japan for 21 years, establishing Paca Paca Farm in the centre of the breeding industry in Hokkaido. That leads to the question of how did a vet working on the Curragh end up in Japan? Family or professional connections, perhaps? “No connections at all,” says Harry, “I qualified as a vet, graduating from UCD and then getting my doctorate at Edinburgh. I was working on the Curragh in 1990 when I got a completely unsolicited offer to go and work in Japan. I was newly married and it sounded like a great adventure, so we said, why not! It would be fun!” As he recounts the tale, it’s clear Harry has lost none of that original enthusiasm and appetite. “It was initially only for a year,” he reveals, “but 21 years later we’re still here!” Initially he worked at Taiki Farm, which at that stage was just starting up, as a breeding and pre-training operation. Harry managed Taiki for five years, before moving to a larger, more centrally located racing stable. “That was where I realised the sheer scale of the Japanese racing industry. I saw it as an enormous pie and I thought, it would be nice if I could get a few crumbs!” Within three years Paca Paca had been founded. Harry’s path back into breeding from training was a simple one. “There are limitations in Japan for a registered owner,” he explains, “and I had registered as an owner already. I was actually the first Westerner ever to register. That excluded me from training, as you are not allowed to be an owner and a trainer.” Instead, Harry settled into Paca Paca Farm in the centre of Hokkaido. The 500 acre farm is currently home to 70 mares and foals, most owned by the farm, but some boarded by clients. He is a leading consignor at all of the major sales and retains some racing interests, as well as offering pre-training services. “Hokkaido is a big expansive land. We have snow for two or three months during the winter, but never more than a foot. The yearlings are left out all winter and we have very good summers.” Despite being on the far side of the world, Harry’s involvement with Irish breeders remains strong. “One of the best horses bred here at Paca Paca was Meisho Doto,” he says, “and he was bred by Paul Hardy, an ITBA member based in County Down. We had the dam here.” Meisho Doto ended his illustrious career as one of Japan’s top ten all-time prize money earners. Pink Cameo was another of Harry’s Group 1 winners and the two-year-old champion Ampere is the latest of Paca Paca’s top flight stars. “Japan has consistently been the fourth largest producer of foals,” he states, though with Ireland’s sharp decline, latest figures are likely to show Japan’s promotion to third. “8,000 foals are produced here every year and they will all race here. Japan is unique in having no significant export market. We have 30,000 horses in training, between the Japanese Racing Association (JRA) and the National Association of Racing (NAR). “The JRA is responsible for the better quality racing, the premier races, about 50% run on dirt and 50% turf. The JRA offers fantastic prize money; the average per race is €300,000. The NAR races are run on dirt only and are of lesser quality, for the lesser horses, but there is movement of horses, both up and down, between the two Associations. “All horses have to be pre-trained in one of two designated centres. There are 100 registered trainers

and 5,000 horses in each centre,” he adds. All racing in Japan is centrally managed and the vast betting revenue goes directly back into racing. “The JRA and NAR own all facilities and manage all betting,” he explains. “The economy is very weak at the moment, it’s not been good for quite a while. Betting turnover is down and has been down annually for the past ten years, but it still stands at about €28billion! Despite the economy, that figure remains good, greater than the USA, UK and Ireland combined.” One of the biggest problems that Sweeney sees is the lack of good public relations. “We’d like new owners. Prize money is so big, but owners don’t want to come into the game. It really lacks public relations and good stories. In some sectors of society racing is very much looked down upon and people would prefer not to own horses than be associated with the sport. There is a big image problem. Racing isn’t socially acceptable. “We need to address that,” he continues. “The Japanese market is dominated by the Yoshida family who own the Shadai group. They have 1400 mares between the three brothers and they race on a scale similar to Coolmore and the Maktoums combined. With the Shadai group so powerful, people don’t feel they can compete.” Harry holds up the Arima Kinen, run on the last Sunday of December, as an example. Second only to the Japan Cup as Japan’s richest race, it is the most popular betting race of the year. “It had a betting turnover of €375million on that one race alone. This year, 11 of the 15 runners were bred or owned by the Yoshida brothers, who were responsible for the first seven home. That puts other people off.”

“...people would prefer not to own horses than be associated with the sport. Racing isn’t socially acceptable.”

Nevertheless, he says that the demographics of Japanese racing remain very good: “At any meeting we’ll have 100,000 at the track, largely young people. The JRA is very, very strict about requirements for ownership, as you know it was even difficult for Sheikh Mohammed, but it does keep undesirable elements out of racing and Japanese racing is very, very clean. We’re now more open for international owners and the industry is gathering pace. We have some very clever people and ambitious people now in Japan and we’re in an exciting developmental period”. Reflecting on the recent disaster to befall Japan and its consequences for the thoroughbred industry, he remarks: “In the short term, breeders will take yet another hammering, but economically the cost to the nation is estimated to be only twice the cost of the recent bank bailouts in Ireland. When you compare that to a population here of over 127million, it isn’t going to affect the economy that much. It won’t cause any long-term harm. Japanese people are remarkably resilient. The Dubai World Cup provided a very good shot in the arm and people will take heart from this and fight back.” Harry says that his earthquake proof home and offices shook violently, “like being on a boat at sea,” during the tremors, but he and Paca Paca are just as resilient. Foundations in Japan need to be rock solid and the Japanese racing industry is clearly built on firm ground. As he says, there are undoubtedly exciting times ahead, which is something Dr. Harry Sweeney’s sense of adventure will certainly relish Lissa Oliver On The Cover Feature



Profile T h e Yo u n g I r i s h Tho ro u ghbr e d Br e e ders Associa tion wa s set up with one principa l ai m ; t o off er a pl at f o r m f o r yo u n g pe o pl e t o l ea rn more a bout the industry. To this end we set up i n a l m o s t e v e r y s e c to r i m p o r t a n t as pe ct o f the b r eed i n g an d r a c in g by a nd e n t e r t ai n i n g.

a s t e e r in g c ommittee of young professiona ls currently w o r k i ng o f the in du s t ry to pla n a nd orga nise the a ssocia tion. Th e m o st YITBA 's wo r k is to enga ge with young people with a n inte r e st i n c r e atin g f o ru ms, events a nd workshops tha t a re both info r m at i v e

2010 was the first full year of operation for the YITBA and incorporated a hectic schedule.

an interest in racing the opportunity to be up close and personal with their very own racehorse. As well as this the YITBA, in conjunction with the Tote Go Racing Club,

The year began with the formation of the YITBA racing club which culminated in the incredible victory of Stand To Attention in the “...the YITBA contacts each member Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction individually through various social Sales Stakes at Fairyhouse last mediums such as Facebook, text and September. To have such a high profile winner was phenomenal but via the website,” more importantly the process has allowed members to gain fantastic insight into the dynamics of Irish racing. Top trainers Paul Deegan, offers significantly reduced admission to a David Marnane and Willie Mullins have huge number of race meetings throughout been exceptionally supportive. Not only the year. Details of which can be found have they offered us horses such as on our website. Pickapocketortwo, Your Groovy, Future The other stand out achievement Impact and the aforementioned Stand To of the YITBA’s inaugural year of operation Attention to run in our own silks but they has undoubtedly been the Apprenticeship have also been so generous with their Scheme, which offers members the time for the benefit of our members. opportunity to gain one year’s work experience within the industry consisting The strength of the racing of four three month segments. Having club is reliant on member participation, started last September the two successful especially on race-days. To achieve candidates, Mary Rose Quirke and Mary this, the YITBA contacts each member Kilduff are now over half way through individually through various social mediums their year-long scholarship. Beginning such as Facebook, text and our website, at Paul Nolan’s racing yard and the At various race meetings Castlebridge Consignment respectively throughout the year club members were here is a flavour of the experiences the on hand to see every aspect of bringing pair have encountered so far, taken a horse to the races and watching it run. from the blog they are asked to write Members have been deeply involved in throughout the process. many of the major decisions associated with owning racehorses such as designing the club’s racing silks and indeed in Mary Rose Quirke naming some of the horses involved. All in all, the scheme has been a major The first stint of my year long YITBA success and will be continued in 2011. It apprenticeship scheme brought me to Paul will once again offer aspiring breeders, Nolan’s training yard near Enniscorthy trainers, jockeys and young people with in Co.Wexford…. I can see that it is a 60

The Irish Thoroughbred


very professional outfit and everything is carried out with military style precision and routine. The yard offers top class facilities including an eight furlong sand gallop with a gradual incline, three walkers and an indoor school with extensive schooling facilities, which are utilized in full by each of the horses. Not alone am I learning about the training of horses but also all the other aspects of horse care and management, including feeding, dosing and hoof care to name but a few… I am definitely learning a lot in the Nolan yard. While I initially found the Wexford accent difficult to understand, now half way through my time here, I am beginning to speak ‘quare’ like them and I am enjoying the craic and banter in the yard. Having completed the last six weeks relatively unscathed, I now look forward to the next six. Phase two of my year long apprenticeship scheme has brought me up the M7 to Naas Racecourse. However, before I talk about all things Naas, I would like to thank everybody at Paul Nolan’s training yard (Phase 1 of the apprenticeship scheme) for being so helpful and I hope they are not missing me, too much! My stint in Naas started with a walk around the mile and a half track with Tom Ryan, Racecourse Manager. Following the walk, I have a new found appreciation for the stiff uphill finish that the horses have to contend with. I was given a tour of the facilities the racecourse has to offer, from the stable yard and the weigh room to the catering facilities, which includes the Panoramic Restaurant and the Corporate Suites. I was really impressed with the tour

Mary Rose Quirke and especially enjoyed the spectacular view of the racetrack from the Panoramic restaurant. I soon became aware of all the work that is done to attract race goers to the racecourse. I learned about the special offers that Naas racecourse provides including the general admission bundles, annual member badges and the package deals available for the Panoramic restaurant and the Corporate Suites. I quickly realised that while racing is a past time for many, for Naas racecourse it is a business. It is a business that has to be commercially viable so race goers can continue to enjoy all it has to offer, for many years to come. My duties at Naas are both interesting and varied. Such duties include the preparation of the press release in advance of race meetings. I am also involved in the creation and design of the race card and am responsible for updating both their facebook and twitter accounts. The use of social networks demonstrates how racing is constantly adapting and evolving in order to keep in touch with its race goers and racing enthusiasts. My first racing day at Naas racecourse was on the 15th of January. The day provided top quality racing and patrons enjoyed an action packed afternoon. It was great to see how all

Mary Kilduff our preparation work came together on the day. I now appreciate the huge amount of work that goes in to organising a racing event.

Mary Kilduff

“I worked at Goffs for both the mare and foal sales and thoroughly enjoyed it - the next stop was Newmarket. ”

My first placement led me to Castlebridge Stud based outside of Trim in County Meath, run by Bill and Tara Dwan……..It was brilliant to get a quick insight into how the yearling prep was done with Castlebridge Consignment. For a big business I was amazed to see how it worked and was impressed by the way all the yearlings were given super individual attention with their exercise and feeding regimes. The daily routine involved putting yearlings on the walker with rollers and side reins, lunging, driving in long reins and the daily hand walking of the yearlings……….. I worked at Goffs for both the mare and foal sales and thoroughly enjoyed it and next stop was Newmarket. We were very busy with over 70 horses to be sold within the next few days and it took a huge amount of co-ordination for it all to work successfully but it did run very smoothly. I enjoyed being part of this successful consignment who sold some superb bloodstock, I learned the horse is the most important part of all the operation and we the staff/people play our part in looking after them and trying our best to produce them at their best on sale day……….

“Not alone am I learning about the training of horses but also all the other aspects of horse care and management, including feeding, dosing and hoof care to name but a few…”

I have enjoyed my time at Castlebridge as I have seen all aspects of sale prep in a short space of time. I have had the opportunity to work with some top quality yearlings,

mares and foals and have even on occasion found time to get into the local pub “Lenihans” for a drink or two and even made it on a quiz team but perhaps that is a story for another day. Changing time again, I moved on to Derrinstown Stud, having started in mid-January 2011 So far everything has gone great, at the moment I am based in the breaking yard where I’ve settled in well. It’s a good yard where I learned loads and enjoyed the experience breaking, with the help of my colleagues who are answering my many questions. With four foals on the ground things only got busier and with their new stallion Arcano fully booked, I expected a busy experience here and looked forward to it and the challenges ahead.

Extending the scheme the YITBA have managed to place two further candidates, Amy Lawless and Caroline Townend as part of our Overseas Work Experience Scheme in the USA. Amy Lawless, who hails form Martinstown, the Curragh has joined the team at Lambholm South Farm in Ocala, Florida and has identified some Profile



Overseas Work Experience Scheme - Dec 2010 techniques used there that she hopes to import back to Ireland. “The training from weanlings to new yearlings is really quite different. Here, they are used to a daily routine at a younger age and are a lot

quieter,” she says. From Midleton in Co Cork, Caroline Townend is steeped in racing and breeding tradition and has recently begun a placement at Castleton Lyons Farm in Lexington, Kentucky where she will spend the next few months.

YITBA Racing Club with horse Stand to Attention winning the Tattersalls Ireland Auction Race at Fairyhouse Racecourse 19th September 2010 62



In placing four people in paid employment the Apprenticeship and Overseas Work Experience Schemes have been an incredible success, giving the candidates selected an excellent opportunity to experience whatever aspect of the industry they are most interested in. In 2011 the YITBA will once again be accepting more apprentices as well as trying our best to place any member we possibly can with w oopportunities to work and learn within the a iindustry. This is very

much within our remit and we encourage members to get in touch with us, especially in these difficult times in Ireland. While we are very proud of the success of the racing club and the apprenticeship scheme the YITBA is also invested in other initiatives to get young people out and about and to have some fun. Back in July 2010 our first outing was a trip to Paul Deegan’s yard on the Curragh, followed by a visit to Giltown Stud to see the great Sea The Stars. There have been numerous other visits and race-days in the past year and we hope to host more events in the coming months with details to follow. We have been following a mare’s progress throughout the breeding season, with regular updates on the websites and have posted some industry profiles, outlining the steps that young successful people working in the industry took to achieve their goals. There is a wealth of knowledge available to everyone with an interest in racing and breeding and signing up costs just 10Euro. You can do so by going to the website at www.yitba,ie Learn today, lead tomorrow.


Flat Out! 10 to watch for the flat season Attheraces Irish expert Gary O’Brien takes you through his ten to follow on the flat in Ireland for 2011. AWAIT THE DAWN A.P. O’Brien 4yo colt by Giant’s Causeway-Valentine Band

Restricted to just two outings last year, Await The Dawn will hopefully have the opportunities to show what he is capable of over the coming months. Backed as if defeat was out of the question on his belated reappearance in a minor event at Cork in August, the Giant’s Causeway colt duly scored with the minimum of fuss but it was his demolition of the opposition in the Group 3 Kilternan Stakes at Leopardstown on Irish Champion Stakes day really that marked him down as a potential top notcher. Admittedly it may not have been the strongest race of its type but the nine length winning margin in no way flattered him and offers encouragement that a step up to the highest level might not be beyond him.

Await The Dawn 64


COCOZZA J.M. Oxx 3yo colt by Elusive Quality-Watership Crystal Dunboyne Express was a seriously good juvenile last season, winding up a rewarding campaign by finishing fifth when sent off at just 4/1 for the Racing Post Trophy. With this in mind it could well be significant just how strong Cocozza was in the market against Kevin Prendergast’s charge in Leopardstown’s recent 2000 Guineas Trial prior to his late defection. The son of Elusive Quality had just a humble maiden success at Cork to his name but was challenging for favouritism at the time of his enforced withdrawal, having presumably been working nicely at home. Provided the stalls problem which was responsible for his absence can be ironed out there seems every possibility he will make up into a high-class performer over a mile.

DENNY CRANE E. Lynam 5yo gelding by Red Ransom-Fleeting Rainbow One of the real stars of the 2010 season, climbing the ratings by more than 30lbs during a campaign that saw him notch up four victories and seven placings in eleven outings, Eddie Lynam’s five year-old may not be finished improving yet. The half-brother to Rebelline

Denny Crane SPRING 2011

was actually unlucky not to win more than he did last year, as trouble in running cost him dearly on a couple of occasions, and it will be disappointing if he fails to add significantly to his tally this time around. Ideally suited by the polytrack surface at Dundalk, where his turn of foot has proved such a potent weapon, he is also perfectly effective on decent going on turf and is expected to graduate to Listed class before long.

HEAD SPACE J.S. Bolger 3yo colt by Invincible Spirit-Danzelline Head Space’s juvenile career unfortunately ended almost before it had begun, a stylish victory in a five furlong maiden at Naas in early spring being the one and only chance we had to see him in action. However such was the impression he created on that occasion that it is not that difficult to include him in this list, particularly as an entry in the Irish 2000 Guineas suggest he has been pleasing trainer Jim Bolger in his homework since returning to training. Whether this son of Invincible Spirit will stay a mile is open to question he certainly didn’t appear short of speed at Naas - but if stamina does indeed prove an issue there is always the option of a sprinting campaign.




D.K. Weld

K. Prendergast

D.K. Weld

4yo gelding by Montjeu-Top Lady

3yo filly by Iffraaj-Sheer Bliss

3yo filly by Zamindar-Fame At Last

A warm favourite to add further to his trainer’s unparalleled record at the Galway Festival, Rainforest Magic was forced to settle for minor honours in a 1m4f handicap at Ballybrit but there is still plenty of time for him to fulfill his potential. Drawn on the wide outside that day, the Montjeu gelding was never able to get into an ideal position as a result but in finishing third he was only beaten just over two lengths and the form has worked out really well. His close sixth behind Leah Claire in a big field at Leopardstown on his only subsequent outing on the level has also been handsomely boosted by those around him in the interim, suggesting that the mark of 73 on which he now finds himself can be exploited.

An impressive winner of a 7f maiden at last year’s Galway Festival, this daughter of Iffraaj made an inauspicious return to action when down the field at the Curragh on the opening day of the new season but allayed any fears that she may not have trained on when fourth at Dundalk next time. On that occasion she travelled like the best horse for the majority of the journey only to weaken out of the placings close home, the stiff mile seemingly taxing her stamina, and while she may stay the longer distance under less forcing tactics it would be no surprise to see connections campaign her over shorter in the future. A sound surface seems particularly important to her, and granted her favoured conditions she ought to progress further.

It generally takes a fair two year-old to win at Galway at the first time of asking and there was no disguising Pat Smullen’s excitement after this daughter of Zamindar had produced a stunning late burst to come from a seemingly impossible position and land a maiden at the Festival on her racecourse bow. Well adrift entering the dip after understandably showing her inexperience early on, Dermot Weld’s filly picked up in really taking fashion once the penny finally dropped for a last gasp success and looks the type to do improve significantly with the experience under her belt. A halfsister to the yard’s wonderful flag bearer Famous Name, she will have no problem staying a mile and could easily develop into a classic contender.



P.D. Deegan

J.M. Oxx

4yo colt by Seeking The Gold-Shy Lady

3yo colt by Azamour-Zanara

A serious ‘buzzer’ prior to his belated racecourse debut in a Dundalk maiden towards the backend of last season, this goodlooking half-brother to Group 1 winner Zafeen certainly didn’t disappoint, travelling strongly throughout en route to a comfortable defeat of some admittedly ordinary rivals. Pitched in at the deep end in the Gladness Stakes first time up in 2011, he certainly didn’t look out of place, once again going with notable zest for a long way before understandably tiring in the very heavy going. Connections will no doubt be keen to avoid similar conditions in the future, and with so little mileage on the clock there is no telling how much improvement trainer Paul Deegan could elicit from him granted a clear run this term.

After a relatively quiet time of things in 2010, John Oxx appears to have a clutch of promising types to go to war with this season and this son of former Currabeg stable star Azamour certainly filed himself in that category with an eye catching introduction at flat headquarters earlier this month. In midfield and apparently going nowhere shortly after turning for home in a 1m2f event won by the well-backed Marksmanship, he really got the hang of things in the closing stages and was clawing back the two in front of him with every stride as they hit the line. It looked a strong contest and he confirmed that initial promise by winning at Navan two weeks later. Further down the line he is expected to hold his own in pattern company Gary O’Brien

SAINT BY DAY M. Halford 5yo gelding by Marju-Spring To Light Saint By Day may have failed to get his head in front last season but there was sufficient promise in his final two outings to make him worth persevering with. Having lost his way somewhat after a very promising second to stablemate Hujaylea on his reintroduction at Dundalk in April, the five year-old was given a break and looked on much better terms with himself when returning, a troubled passage denying him a winning opportunity back at the County Louth venue on his last start. There are striking similarities between the profile of the Marju gelding and the same connections’ Banna Boirche, who enjoyed such a wonderful run on the polytrack towards the end of 2010. It would be no surprise to once again see plenty of this one at the country’s sole allweather circuit.

The Irish Thoroughbred



Interview Eddie Lynam Edward Lynam reflects on his career and that amazing Nunthorpe Stakes victory last August with Daragh Ó Conchúir

When Sole Power blitzed a high class field in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York's Ebor meeting last August at the eye-popping price of 100/1, his trainer Edward Lynam was catapulted into the limelight. "A typical Dub" as he describes himself, he dealt with it all readily. Winning a first Group 1 is a significant milestone though, especially when 66

The Irish Thoroughbred


you’ve waited 27 years. In just 57.14 seconds, Lynam became what must surely be the longest overnight sensation ever. The Dunshaughlin-based handler is, in his own words, an “outsider”, with very little racing pedigree. While his uncles, Jimmy and Eamon O’Connell were trainers, it was the fact that Lynam was born and reared beside Phoenix Park racecourse that piqued his interest. As a child, he was bitten by the bug. When he was 12, his father bought Sir Hugh Nugent’s Lohunda Park stables with the intention to develop the property. While waiting to do so, he rented the premises to a newcomer named Jim Bolger, who did very well there before moving to Coolcullen. Lynam

had spent time with Bolger learning his trade and took over in 1983. Soon afterwards, he placed an advertisement in The Irish Field looking for staff. A young female who had ridden as an apprentice for Charlie Nelson answered and within a few years, the young trainer had, not just a work rider and an assistant, but a wife. “Lucky for me” he admits, acknowledging the massive role Aileen has had not just in the business, but in his life. He has always needed that support because there have been many dark days where only his love of the game kept him involved. “It’s always been a bit of a struggle because of being an outsider” says Lynam. “When I started training

I relied on help from my mum and dad, who gave me my first couple of horses. Then I had a bit of success and gradually built up owners over the years. “We would have been selling horses to go abroad. I’ve been selling horses to Hong Kong since I started. Financially, I’m in the same position as the economy. I wouldn’t be making any money. I love it and I do it. “My daughter wants to do it now, after graduating from Trinity College. She just told her father she wanted to become a horse trainer and I went ‘oh Jesus, do you know what you’re letting yourself in for?’ But it’s a kind of an addiction. I wouldn’t recommend it if you want to make money but it’s a great way of life.” Sarah is currently learning her trade with Willie Mullins (“a proper trainer” deadpans Lynam), but his two other daughters appear likely to steer clear of thoroughbreds, with Amy in the fashion business in London, although Emily is studying photography and may be the future Jacqueline O’Brien. Lynam’s first winner was a grey by Sexton Blake called Silver Lark in Navan in 1984. Silver Lark was subsequently sold to Hong Kong, where he campaigned successfully as Silver Shadow. The impact of the victory on the 22-year-old rookie was immense. “I could tell you what was second and third, who rode and who trained them” he admits now, having taken in everything about the day. And believe me, he can.

the horse?” “You have to be able to laugh at yourself. You’ve got to enjoy the good days because there’s loads of bad days but we’re dreamers in racing and that helps. We can dream walking. We don’t need to go to bed to dream. We’re optimists.” Maybe that’s why he says he was “pretty cool” after the Nunthorpe. Even though it might have come as a shock, there is no

him the confidence to go for these types of races. The eight-year-old will continue to race this year but as a winner of a Group 2, two Group 3s and four Listed races, he owes connections nothing. “As a trainer you need a few of them to slot in right in right when you go with them. And when you do, you get a bit more adventurous. When an owner has a good horse, they should race them and train them, because you don’t know how long you’ll be waiting for the next one.” He enjoyed the recent trip to Dubai even though Sole Power never got into contention. “It’s a fabulous race track, fabulous prize money but it’s basically a beautiful city dropped in the middle of a desert. It comes at a funny time, before the season starts in earnest. I’ve had runners there and Hong Kong and they’ve treated me well and I’ll go back but the places I like are York and Royal Ascot if I had one good enough.”

Four years later, he thought “...we’re dreamers in racing and that he’d made it when his two-year-old helps. We can dream walking. We don’t Tantum Ergo followed up a victory in the Sportmen’s Challenge Cup by garnering need to go to bed to dream. the Group 3 CL Weld Park Stakes on We’re optimists.” Cartier Million day. Both victories came at his local track. “We thought we’d cracked it then. We had a very good two-year-old around that time as well called way it was a fluke. “It was one of the fastest Gregory Peck who beat one of those expensive Nunthorpes in recent years and when they horses of Vincent O’Brien’s. They were nearly While he isn’t too hopeful about his analysed it they couldn’t find anything flukey horses really. I suppose the best horse I had in three-year-old crop for the season ahead, about it. It was beautiful racing ground, he the earlier days was Rolo Tomasi.” there are plenty of prospects amongst his two slotted in mid-division, crept into the race and year-olds and the older generation. Apart quickened away well. It wasn’t as if he got Rolo Tomasi won three races, from the stable star, Duff will continue to four lengths lead at the gate and they didn’t including the Listed Testimonial Stakes in 1999 operate, albeit in lower divisions than he used catch him, or it was atrocious ground. On the and was second four times. Lynam was showing to, while his half-sister Tweedy will begin her day he brought his A game to the race. that he could train them but he just didn’t have season in May. Denny Crane is “the trainer’s enough of quality. favourite horse, he’d talk to you” and will be “He’s an incredibly fast horse but aimed at the premier handicaps. he hasn’t learned how to gallop properly. The “The whole secret is sourcing good more those sprinters race, the more they learn owners and good horses. That’s far more Of his “nice team of two-year-olds”, to gallop. They get better with age and it’s not difficult to do than to say. The way the game is Slade Power (a home-bred colt by Dutch Art), so much to do with strength but learning how now, you need to be going worldwide. The Irish Khyber Pass (bought very cheaply in England) to race properly. I think his best is ahead of economy doesn’t have the people to compete and the filly Merkel are three that Lynam him.” at the sales. You need to be able to attract the really likes. foreign money but I don’t have many of them. Thus there is plenty of optimism for “But then you look at someone like Jim Bolger, “We’ll keep dreaming, we’ll keep the campaign ahead that should include the who started from nothing and he’s selfhoping. The high that you get… if you ask Palace House Stakes on Guineas weekend, the sufficient. He does it all himself. They’re nearly the owners of Sole Power to put a value on Temple Stakes at Haydock, the King’s Stand all his own horses.” it, they couldn’t. They had a box at York with at Royal Ascot, possibly the July Cup and all the family over. The buzz is massive and definitely a Nunthorpe return. “Every day’s a Lynam’s sense of humour is renowned when you get it, you want to get it again.” Cup final with a horse like him” the avowed and he’s not afraid to be self-deprecating. He Manchester United fan enthuses. was happy to tell people about the text he’d Daragh Ó Conchúir received from Ger Lyons after Sole Power’s It was the exploits of Duff that gave victory that read “what clown decided to geld Interview




Frank Boyd Breeder and husband of Rose Boyd - part-owner of Hurricane Fly Rose Boyd is co-owner of star hurdler Hurricane Fly with George Creighton and her husband Frank talks to Margie McCloone about the day the seven-year-old cemented his stellar status on the greatest stage of all. “It had to be the best day of my life,” revealed Frank Boyd following the Champion Hurdle victory of Hurricane Fly, owned by his wife Rose and their good friend George Creighton. “It was so exciting to stand there in the winners’ enclosure at Cheltenham and to realise that we had the support of the whole of the

Irish nation behind us. It’s a dream come true to have a horse like this and the chances of ever finding another one are extremely remote.” Both the owners and trainer Willie Mullins have had to overcome the disappointment of seeing Hurricane Fly forced out of previous trips to Prestbury Park. When Hurricane Fly carried all before him as a novice hurdler he had to skip a trip to the Cotswolds because of a suspensory injury. Then last year a splint kept him out of the Champion Hurdle field. However, Frank reflects that they were fortunate enough to have purchased the now seven-year-old in the first place. “We wanted a top-class horse to run in Grade 1 races and asked Harold Kirk, The Irish Thoroughbred



who’s from Lisburn, to find us one to fit the bill,” he recalls. “Harold has a great eye for a horse and selected one in France that he thought we’d like. We went to look at the horse, put a bid in but were then gazumped. “We weren’t happy at all about that but then they told us they had another horse, which they really liked, so we ended up buying Hurricane Fly.” Too much of a gentleman to say who the first horse was and who exactly gazumped them, Boyd didn’t seem too upset either to reveal that their intended purchase never made the grade and is running in handicaps. “It was a pity that Hurricane Fly missed earlier trips to the Festival but that’s horses for you and he has won plenty of top-class races here in Ireland. “You’ve just got to be patient and we’d never push a trainer to get a horse to a particular race if he wasn’t ready. We’ve had horses with Willie for about 15 years and have been very successful together. “Having a horse like this is a one-off and you could throw any amount of money around and find it’s impossible to buy another like him.” One horse who didn’t get to Cheltenham this year is the Mullinstrained C’est Ca whom Rose Boyd also owns in partnership with George Creighton. The British-bred Groom Dancer seven-year-old won a beginners’ chase at Navan on his last appearance in March having previously finished second in a Grade 2 chase at Limerick over Christmas. While Frank insists that all the horses they have are Rose’s, she, in turn, insists that he is the one to talk to about them. “We have plenty of horses at home (the beautiful Rademon estate outside Crossgar) and Rose is breeding out of home-bred daughters of Rostrevor Lady using sires such as Old Vic and Flemensfirth.” Rostrevor Lady, a 1982 Kemal mare who won twice over hurdles and once over fences, is dam of a host of horses all with the pre-fix Killultagh. The dynasty founded by Rostrevor Lady is certainly one that has served the Boyds well over the last decade.




The best of that mare’s nine recorded produce was the Mandalus gelding Killultagh Storm. Also trained by Willie Mullins, he won eight races including the Powers Gold Label Handicap Hurdle and the Dan Moore Memorial Handicap Chase – both at Fairyhouse’s Easter Festival in 2000 and 2003. Currently racing for the Boyds, in partnership with Elizabeth Tumelty, is Killultagh Queen, a seven-year-old daughter of King’s Theatre out of Killultagh Gayle, who is full-sister to Killultagh Storm. She has won a bumper, a maiden hurdle and has twice finished second over fences. Frank is credited with breeding the brown mare but insists that Rose is the ‘horsey’ member of the family. “She really loves anything to do with horses. Rose very much enjoys her hunting and is a Master of the Killultagh, Old Rock & Chichester Hunt. She is very committed to the hunt and is never off the road. She is breeding her own hunters and is keen on Connemara Irish Draught crosses.” Frank claims that he just gets to muck out the horses and drive the lorry but he also gets pressed into service each year at the Killultagh point-to-point where he collects the gate money. The couple are also interested in eventing and each year host a one-day event at Rademon. Their son Brendan, who works in the family’s Killultagh Properties, now events the former show horse Connswater Supreme, a six-year-old Ghareeb gelding, while younger daughter Sinead rides at Junior C level. The couple’s elder daughter Megan, who also used to compete, is in her final year studying veterinary science and upon graduating is heading to Newmarket. “We are involved with George Creighton in quite a few horses,” continues Frank, “but, as he lives in Belfast, he can’t really keep any there himself. There’s nothing he likes better than regularly coming out to Rademon and relaxing among the horses out here.” The wait to get to Cheltenham probably seemed an interminable for all the connections of Hurricane Fly but when his day finally came he provided them with memories to last a lifetime Margie McCloone


Andrew Lynch National Hunt Jockey Andrew Lynch talks to Ryan McElligott about a season to remember and a career in the saddle that began just over ten years ago.

His first few years as a jockey were spent making his name mainly in the point-to-point field and weren’t without their share of misfortune but sustained progress in recent years has seen Andrew Lynch develop into one of the country’s leading jump jockeys. As we head into the Punchestown Festival, Lynch stands on the brink of reaching a landmark 50 winners for a season for the first time in his career. In addition he has proved himself well capable of seizing the opportunities presented to him on the biggest stage of all – as evidenced by an impressive four winner haul at the last two editions of the Cheltenham Festival. “The last couple of seasons have been great and this has definitely been a terrific year. Going into Cheltenham I had ridden plenty of decent winners at Grade 2 and Grade 3 level,” says Lynch. “I hadn’t actually ridden a Grade 1 winner this season so to get my first at Cheltenham was fantastic, especially as it came on Sizing Europe. Beforehand it was great knowing that I was going out riding a horse with a live chance in a championship race.” Lynch (26) has come a long way since he had his first racecourse ride ten years ago. His first few years riding as an amateur saw him concentrate mainly on point-to-points where he was crowned champion novice rider but he did also win the amateur’s Derby at Epsom in 2004. However, after turning professional in July 2005 he endured a remarkably luckless run of breaking his arm in the same place three times in one year. Still though a win on Victram in the 2006 Imperial Cup, his first ride back from one of those broken arms, served notice of Lynch’s prowess on the big stage. “When I started out I was mainly getting going in point-to-points and had just a handful of rides in bumpers. I always wanted to ride but my mother made sure that I after I left school I did something else too so I did a two year course in business studies. “It was a fall back in case things didn’t work out as a jockey. For the first couple of years I wanted to see how my weight went as an amateur. The last thing I wanted to do was to turn professional and struggle with my weight and part of the thinking was that there was an opportunity there if I turned professional as a light weight jockey and that did help to get me going when I turned professional.” Trainer Jim Dreaper has also been a central figure in Lynch’s career. He gave him his first point-to-point winner and during a relatively fallow 2008/09 season for Lynch it was the trainer’s Notre Pere who bolstered the rider’s profile with a series of big race wins in the Welsh National and the Guinness Gold Cup. “It took me a while to get going on the track and Jim was very good to me. He gave me rides where he could and even when I was an amateur he was putting me up in races against professionals. “At the time of Notre Pere I was only

really riding for Jim and Michael O’Brien who had given me plenty of rides and winners but during that season Michael probably didn’t have a great bunch of horses and Notre Pere really kept me in the limelight.” Another key figure in Lynch’s career has been his father Sean, himself a former jump jockey whose big race wins included a Galway Hurdle and the two mile champion chase at Punchestown. “He has been a very big influence on me and I’d talk to him every day. He’s always helped me to get better and you’re always going to need somebody there to tell you what you have done wrong as opposed to telling you what you want to hear.” Over the last number of seasons Lynch has developed a terrific relationship with trainer Henry de Bromhead and his main patrons Alan and Ann Potts – the trio combining to strike twice at Cheltenham this year with the aforementioned Sizing Europe and also Sizing Australia. “I started to ride quite a bit for Henry from 2008 onwards and I was riding Sizing Europe in all his work. Mr and Mrs Potts were then looking for someone who could commit to riding their horses and asked me if I could ride the majority of them. That association worked out well and as the season went on they wanted me to ride them all. The link with de Bromhead and Alan and Ann Potts has given Lynch three of his four Cheltenham winners to date with the unquestionable highlight being Sizing Europe’s electric display in the Queen Mother. The previous season’s Arkle Chase winner had begun the campaign trying his hand at three miles but early in the New Year his attentions were pointed back to the minimum trip and at Cheltenham he delivered the performance of his life. “Coming up to Cheltenham we were hopeful that the chance to run him back on decent ground over two miles would bring him back to his best. Around eight days before Cheltenham he worked very well and just before going over there he schooled brilliantly. He schooled better than Loosen My Load, which takes doing, and on the back of that I thought that we were going into Cheltenham with a big chance.

“In the Queen Mother we knew it would be a true run race which would suit him and he had his ground too. He fiddled the first a bit but after that he settled into a great rhythm. At the second last he got in a bit close but I think everybody did – that fence comes up quickly after the bend – and after that he kept on really well for me. “It was just a great week. I went over there with six rides and I felt all had genuine chances and they all picked up prizemoney. Rubi Light ran well really in the Ryanair. He might have taken beaten on slightly slower ground but the experience he picked up there will really stand to him. “He’s a brilliant jumper and such an athletic horse. He was essentially a novice coming into this season and he has done so well. If all goes well he could be Gold Cup horse in the future.” Lynch’s impressive work ethic keeps him busy whenever there isn’t any racing and this is perhaps best evidenced in his tally of winners for the season which have been supplied by 14 different trainers. On a given day he could be schooling for Michael O’Hare, Paul Magnier and Denis Cullen while it is not unknown for him to start out a morning with de Bromhead, head to Thurles and wind up the day schooling for Paul Gilligan in Galway. Lynch has enjoyed a lengthy association with the last-named and it was that trainer who supplied him with his other Cheltenham winner which came in the shape of Berties Dream in last year’s Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle. “Even as an amateur I rode a good bit for Paul and last year it was great to ride Berties Dream for him at Cheltenham and then win the Powers Gold Cup on Jadanli for him. He does very well with the horses that he has and is a real grafter. It’s great to be able to ride winners for people whom you’ve been with since the very start.” He might have had to endure his share of bad luck in his formative years as a rider but the tide has certainly turned in Andrew Lynch’s favour and expect his haul of high profile winners to keep growing over the coming seasons Ryan McElligott Profile




Jamie Codd Champion Point-to-Point Jockey Contender

Undoubtedly the most fascinating feature of the current point-to-point season has been enthralling battle between Derek O’Connor and Jamie Codd for the title of champion jockey. Interview



By mid-April O'Connor still held a slight edge over his old rival but Codd has been enjoying a terrific season. He looks to be in good shape to beat his personal best tally of 81 winners (a haul that would have been good enough to win all bar two of the last ten championships), which was set in the 2007/08 campaign, while his season has already contained its share of landmark moments. “It’s been a really good season,” says Codd (29), who pays tribute to his parents Billy and Mary Frances along with his girlfriend Robyn O’Sullivan for ‘keeping him sane’ throughout the height of the point-to-point season. “I just have to get through this month now. April hasn’t been too kind a month for me in the last couple of years. Two years ago I was knocked out in a hunter chase at Tipperary and last season I was knocked out again at a point.” Speaking in mid-April, at which point he trailed O’Connor by three, Codd adds: “The number one thing this season is to try to get beyond 81 winners and then see if I can get ahead of Derek. The last two weeks haven’t been great but I can’t complain I’ve been having a very good run this season.”

behind only his good friend O’Connor and JT McNamara in the all time winning jockeys list. “To be in that sort of elite company is something that you can only dream of,” he remarks with typical modesty. Reflecting on the point of his career where he started to turn more towards the pointing field, Codd states: “Although I was riding on the track the point-to-pointing was always there. When I was riding in bumpers I would be at a point-to-point beforehand the same day”. “The only thing was though in those days I couldn’t give any firm commitments early in the week which meant maybe I missed some good rides but I managed to keep my foot in the door which was a huge help in the long run.” Since he first started making an impression in point-topoints Codd has seen plenty of change and much of it for the better. “Its definitely tougher to win a point-to-point nowadays. There are schooling races and schooling grounds within half an hour to an hour of everybody. Consequently you know that the vast majority of horses you’re getting on are fit and well schooled. “Also the introduction of the autumn point-to-points has been a big help. It keeps everything rolling along and is a help to both the people involved and the horses. The whole autumn point-to-point scene cost a couple of hundred grand to run and when you see that amount of winners and good winners coming of it it’s well worth it.” Fittingly in what has been a season to remember for Codd he also struck Cheltenham Festival gold for the second time in his career as the David Pipe-trained Junior landed the Kim Muir. “He is owned by Middleham Park Racing who also part own Backstage and it was shortly after I won a point on Backstage that Nick Bradley, who helps to run Middleham Park, rang me and told me that Junior was in the Kim Muir, that he had a good chance and that they’d like me to ride him.”

O’Connor has maintained a vice like grip on the jockeys championship for a number of years now and, like any of his colleagues in other disciplines, it is clear that being champion would mean a lot to Codd. “Of course it would mean a lot and that’s what it’s all about. Throughout the season I’ve set myself little targets to try and stay close to Derek and try to keep the gap to him within five winners. “If it’s at five or less anything could happen and one good weekend could turn it all around but if it grew any bigger then he’d have to have a couple of bad weekends and things would really have to go right for me at the same time.” A key battle ground in the fight for title honours is the role played by point-to-points in Northern Ireland each Saturday. Generally each Saturday throughout the winter and spring sees the two title rivals go toe to toe up North and that is usually the only time that they will clash in a given week. “Saturday’s are quite important and it’s there that we’re going head to head as on a Sunday I’ll probably be in the East and he’ll be in the South. “Derek has quite a strong hand in the North as he’d be riding for the likes of Ian Ferguson, Wilson Dennison and Colin McKeever whereas I’d be relying on my southern contacts to bring horses up every week. I must say the East has been brilliant to me over the years but its very competitive too with the likes of Barry O’Neill and Mikey Fogarty coming through now as well.” There was a time though when Codd’s name was more readily associated with bumper winners than those in the pointto-point field following a successful association with Willie Mullins and in the 2003/04 season he notched up some 22 winners on the track. “I suppose I had the view when I started riding that I might turn professional although Willie felt I’d be better off staying as an amateur. We had 40 or 50 winners together but when I rode out my claim things got a lot tougher for me on the track and Katie Walsh was coming on behind me at Willie’s.” With his attentions then switching from the track to the pointing field Codd quickly set about building up a hugely impressive record which is such that he recently passed out Enda Bolger and stands 76



Cheltenham wasn’t always a meeting that has been kind to Codd and a blunder by Hedgehunter at the second last in the 2003 renewal of the four mile National Hunt Chase is one that got away. However, Junior was giving him his second win at the meeting following the success of Character Building in the 2009 four mile. “Early on I didn’t have much luck over there and if things aren’t going well its maybe not the best place to be but when you get into that enclosure at the top of the parade ring you really appreciate what it means to do well there and then you want more. “In terms of getting rides over there success in point-to-points has been a big help. It’s an advantage to be riding frequently over fences every weekend as you’ve got more experience than the one who is riding in bumpers.” Irrespective of the final tally in the this season’s point-topoint jockeys championship it has been a campaign to remember for Jamie Codd and one which holds the promise of many more fine years to come

ITBA - The Irish Thoroughbred - SPRING 2011  

The Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association remains committed to providing a service for breeders and through our new free E-magazine we rea...

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