20th Mar 2019
Milly Harwood (UK) and Donncha McCarthy (IRE) give you an insight into their seventh week here on the Irish National Stud Thoroughbred Breeding Course.
Equine flu is out, Cheltenham fever is in. The best week of the year happens in the 2nd week of March when the Cheltenham Festival graces our lives, and what a renewal it was. It wasn’t just a good week for the bookies, our “man in the know” Niall Kelly (IRE) finished a nose ahead in the sweepstake between staff and students.
Niall is no stranger to a Cheltenham winner as he used to ride one of the INS’s Living Legends HURRICANE FLY during his 5 years spent working for Willie Mullins (could explain winning sweepstake/Champion Trainer). It seems fitting that the two time Champion Hurdle winner now gets to spend his retirement at the Irish National Stud as it was literally where the dream came alive, Hurricane Fly was foaled in the Sun Chariot yard at the Irish National Stud.
The Fly isn’t the only Cheltenham legend in the paddock either as he his joined by Cheltenham Gold Cup winning KICKING KING, and another dual Champion Hurdle winner and 3 times festival winner HARDY EUSTACE. These boys bring life to the word legend.
It’s not all about the boys though, Rachel Blackmore secured her first Cheltenham Festival winner shortly following it up by a Grade 1 just for good measure, Lizzie Kelly was back in the winners enclosure making it 2 years in a row, and racing’s sweethearts Frodon and Bryony Frost won the first festival Grade 1 ridden by a female jockey.
Prestbury Park wasn’t the only place the champion girls were busy as during the week students Joan Tyner (IRE) and Caoimhe Loftus (IRE) assisted Irish 1,000 Guineas winner NIGHTIME to give birth to a strong son of Dubawi.
Elsewhere on the farm things are really starting to get busy as the breeding seasons notches up a gear. The covering shed opens every morning at 7am with usually 3 or more of the stallions getting in on the action. More covers occur at 11.30, 3.30 and 7.30 in the evening. The demand for our largest (literally) inmate, standing 17 hh, Elusive Pimpernel is not surprising as he had a second in the Triumph Hurdle on Friday, bred by our very own stallion man Paul Croke!
Kildare Yard is also filling up with mares and foals dancing about. Students worked frantically all week in the yards to get the work done in time to catch a glimpse of the Cheltenham Festival every day.
Milly and Donncha