NICKY Hartery and Sean Murphy were revealed as the respective flat and National Hunt winners of the Connolly’s Red Mills The Irish Field Breeder of the Year Awards this week.
This was the 17th year of the awards and the event was again staged at The Hanged Man’s in Milltown near the Curragh. For the previous two years the awards had been delivered to the winners at home.
A dozen winners of the monthly awards, as voted by the public, were in attendance to receive their silver salvers and to have their achievements acknowledged by their peers and the racing and bloodstock industry.
Sean Murphy from Monivea, Co Galway, has derived enormous fun from following the exploits of Flooring Porter, the dual Stayers’ Hurdle winner he bred. Sean is well-known in breeding circles as chairman of the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (Western Region) but he had never experienced success at this level as a breeder before.
“I’ve dreamt about this,” Sean admitted when receiving his Breeder of the Year Award. “I’m delighted to be part of the Flooring Porter story but I must give all the credit to the horse. All I did was take the mare to the stallion. Fair play to Flooring Porter – he did the business.”
At Cheltenham in March the Yeats gelding Flooring Porter raised the roof when he won the Grade 1 Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle for the second time, and in between he was runner-up in the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown, a race he won the previous year.
He was subsequently courageous in defeat when chasing home Sire Du Berlais in the Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree and has winnings now that are north of £510,000 from seven career victories.
Flooring Porter is the sole winner out of Lillymile, a Sean Murphy homebred. That winning point-to-pointer also won a couple of hurdle races when trained by Pauline Gavin.
Best known as chairman of Horse Racing Ireland, Nicky Hartery had won a monthly award as breeder of Laws Of Indices, a Group 1 winner in Deauville last summer. Based at Caherass Stud in Croom, Co Limerick, Nicky also bred Going Global, who won a Grade 1 race in America last summer.
Both horses were sold by their breeder for relatively small money but gave Nicky and his wife Catherine great pleasure by going on to win at the highest level.
Accepting his Breeder of the Year Award, Nicky said: “I’m very honoured to accept this award. We bought Caherass Stud in 1985 but, because of my work commitments, we didn’t start breeding horses until 2000. I’d like to thank our neighbours Larry and Etna Ryan for their unstinting support and good advice over the years. You need to be lucky as well in breeding. We didn’t make much money from Laws Of Indices or Going Global, and we also sold a mare in 2017 who was carrying future Group 1 winner Tiger Tanaka.”
THE most recent 12 winners of the Connolly’s Red Mills The Irish Field Breeder of the Month Award enjoyed an evening out this week when they were presented with their prizes.
First up to collect his award was Tom Gaffney of Churchtown House Stud in Co Cork. Tom bred Alcohol Free, a daughter of No Nay Never he sold for €40,000 as a foal.
Alcohol Free was one of the best two-year-olds of her year, winning the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes. In June 2021 she landed the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot before doubling up in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.
Kept in training this year at four she showed her great versatility and class when going back from a mile to beat some of the world’s best sprinters in the recent Group 1 July Cup. Jeff Smith’s €40,000 investment has yielded £1.4 million in prize money.
State of Rest
The story of State Of Rest is one to gladden our hearts. In addition to breeding this colt, the Dermot Cantillon/Meta Osborne team can lay claim to breeding his dam Repose, the only one of 10 yearlings they brought to sale in 2013 and had to bring home.
She was out of a mare that Dermot selected for purchase as a 16-year-old, giving €42,000 for the stakes winner Monaassabaat. The couple have earned quite a reputation for buying older mares for value prices, hoping in most cases to get a filly.
State Of Rest has now won four top-level races in four countries and on three continents, and they are the Saratoga Derby, the Cox Plate, the Prix Ganay and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
As Dermot and Meta were abroad this week, their award was collected by Tinnakill House Stud manager Ian Thompson.
No Speak Alexander
It was a great family occasion in September 2021 when, after an anxious wait for the stewards, the O’Callaghan family of Noel and his sons were able to celebrate the victory of their homebred No Speak Alexander in the Group 1 Matron Stakes on Champions Weekend at Leopardstown.
The Jessica Harrington-trained daughter of Shalaa is the first foal of Rapacity Alexander, a listed winning two-year-old by Dandy Man who was purchased by Mountarmstrong Stud’s Noel O’Callaghan as a yearling. She is a full-sister to Hong Kong Group 1 winner Peniaphobia.
Noel includes the name Alexander in all his horses, a nod to his hotel chain. No Speak Alexander was classic-placed in the Irish 1000 Guineas and she also won the Group 3 Athasi Stakes at the Curragh.
Mountarmstrong Stud manager Robert Tierney and colleague Patrick Ryan collected the award.
The Mean Queen
Kevin Purfield cheered home a Grade 1 hurdle winner bred at his Ashgreen Stud near Summerhill in Co Meath when the five-year-old Doyen mare The Mean Queen won the Jonathan Sheppard Hurdle at Saratoga in August 2021.
Though he didn’t win Breeder of the Month then, he did so after she added the Grade 1 Lonesome Glory Hurdle at Belmont and a third Grade 1 in succession when she was victorious in the Grand National Hurdle at Far Hills.
She is out of Gail Borden, and very unusually that mare has the same name as her own third dam who was bred and raced by Kevin’s father John. The former Gail Borden won seven races and bred Bartres who won the Grade 1 Powers Gold Cup.
For the fourth year in succession the Irish-bred Galop Marin, a son of Black Sam Bellamy, won the Grade 1 Grand Prix d’Automne Hurdle last November, and in the process proved himself one of the great staying hurdlers of modern Auteuil history. The achievement also earned breeders Mark Fleming and Mark Molloy a monthly award.
Galop Marin is also a dual Grade 2 winner and his 14 career successes have brought winnings of £1.4 million. This is some return on the €13,000 he made as a yearling, having actually failed to find a buyer in the ring, but he was later the subject of a private sale from Mark Molloy’s Crossogue Farm.
Galop Marin is one of three winners for his dam who won chases at Kelso and Ayr in the colours of co-breeder Mark Fleming and Jane Cameron.
The Grade 1 Savills Chase at the Leopardstown Christmas meeting was won by Galvin, who has only five times finished out of the first two in 21 starts, winning 12 times. He was bred by Gay O’Gara from Castlefergus Stud in Co Clare with Sean O’Brien. Gay also bred and raced Galvins’s dam Burren Moonshine who won a point-to-point, five hurdle races and a chase.
Galvin provided Ian Ferguson, who purchased him as a three-year-old for €34,000 at the Derby Sale, with a 2021 Cheltenham Festival win when landing the Grade 2 National Hunt Chase.
Waikuku lowered the colours of the brilliant Golden Sixty when he won a second Group 1 Stewards’ Cup in January, and last year collected the Group 1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup. He was the first horse bred by Shane Molan in his own name and the horse’s big win this year coincided with the birth of a baby for Shane and his wife, Kim.
Now a three-time Group 1 winner for the Riversfield Stud, Co Limerick man, the €33,000 yearling Waikuku has earnings of some £4.3 million. Shane’s parents Tom and Geraldine bought Riversfield nearly two decades ago and among the winners they bred is Waikuku’s sire Harbour Watch.
What a joy it must have been for breeder Kevin Dillon and his family as they cheered Conflated to victory in the Grade 1 Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup.
Kevin is a former, and very talented, Cork footballer, but this victory must rank among his best sporting moments.
Sold as a foal through Frank Motherway’s Yellowford Stud for €46,000, Conflated is a bumper win and hurdle winner, but has been at his best over fences and has also won graded chases at Navan and Naas, while finishing runner-up at Aintree in the Grade 1 Betway Bowl to Clan Des Obeaux. He is one of four winners from Saucy Present, and they also include Ordinary World who was frustratingly runner-up in three Grade 1 races.
Frank and Liz Motherway collected the award on behalf of Kevin.
James and Kristene Hunter, who co-bred this year’s Aintree Grand National winner Noble Yeats with friends, were unable to attend this week’s award presentation.
Noble Yeats was sold for just €6,500 as a three-year-old, and was bought by Emmet Mullins for £75,000 after being placed in a point-to-point. The horse has won some £525,000 now after his Aintree success, just the fourth of his career and the second over fences. Noble Yeats’ dam, a winning hurdler and point-to-pointer, was bought for just £2,000.
If you need to buy a mare, and have a limited budget, check in with Hyde Park Stud’s John Bourke. He actually traded the dam of Waikuku, buying her for 5,500gns and selling her to Shane Molan for €13,500 two months later.
However, there was even better to come for John when Cachet gave Harry Herbert’s Highclere Racing their first British classic success in the Group 1 Qipco 1000 Guineas this year, and was narrowly denied a follow-up success in the French equivalent.
This story began with an investment of 3,000gns in her dam Poyle Sophie when she was sold to John Bourke at the Tattersalls December Sale in 2018 carrying the classic winner. John retained Cachet as a yearling, an inspired decision when he got 60,000gns for at the breeze up sale.