25th Apr 2019
Ryan Stacey (NZ) and Poppy Walton (GB) give you an insight into their twelfth week here on the Irish National Stud Thoroughbred Breeding Course.
As one of the most exciting times of the flat season is fast approaching, Ryan and Poppy look back on a busy week as students at the Irish National Stud. Students and Staff at Sun Chariot, the foaling unit were pleasantly surprised by the birth of a lovely Ribchester filly. The mare was caught in the act during a quiet lunchtime but fortunately two very diligent students, Shayna and Joan brought her up to the unit in the nick of time. It was great to not only have a daytime foaling that many of us could help out with, but it gave us the opportunity to put what we have learnt from the fantastic night foaling attendants Nicola and Lauren.
The Irish National Stud welcomed the Red Mills team and their Japanese representatives including the impressive female jockey Junko Hosoe. Poppy and Toshi along with Anne, the I.N.S Education Manager, gave them a tour of the beautiful farm in bloom. All of the Red Mills team particularly enjoyed seeing the foals at Kildare yard and this was followed with a meet and greet with the one and only Invincible Spirit. They were hugely impressed by his condition, top line and the shine on his coat, something that is quite magnificent for a stallion at the age of 22. He really is a great advocate of Red Mills and the superb nutrition that they continue to produce. Poppy was surprised to hear that Red Mills even manufacture feed for camels in Saudi Arabia! Jane Davis was particularly happy to be reunited with old friends, Hardy Eustace and Beef or Salmon, our resident legends soon to be joined by Thunder and Roses, the 2015 Irish Grand National winner. We are all anticipating his arrival with great excitement.
This week has also been a notable one for our stallions here at the stud. Gale Force Ten had a winner at Newmarket, Top Breeze trained by Richard Hughes went into the race sweating however Shane Kelly rode him clear in the final furlong and he stayed on strongly until the finish line. An Invincible Spirit colt topped the second session of the Craven Sale, selling to Sheikh Mohammed for 575,000gns even after a broken rein during the first gallop that could have led to complete disaster. It is still quite incredible to think that he was bought privately for just €90,000 after failing to sell at the Goffs Orby Sale especially being a half-brother to dual G1 winner Erupt.
On Friday night Ryan was lucky enough to travel with a mare for an outside cover to the Aga Khans Gilltown stud. With the specific mare being covered by Sea The Stars, the sire of such stallions as Stradavarius and Harzand to name a few. The striking son of Cape Cross out of Urban Sea won 6 consecutive Gr.1 races in 6 months as a 3yo and it’s not hard to see why by the way he presents himself, a real equine athlete.
On Monday, Poppy went to Fairyhouse for the 2019 Irish Grand National. She managed to battle the crowds in the sunshine to get there for the first race where Jon Ess (Dragon Pulse) ran an incredible race, placing 3rd by only ¾ of a length behind The Holy One and Kuiper Belt in a big field of 22 horses. The next race was headlined by Coeur Sublime, bred by Paul Croke the Stallion Manager here at the INS. The Elusive Pimpernel gelding went into the race as the 9/4F however he was impressively beaten by French Made, ridden by Ruby Walsh. Davy Russell did however give an impressive ride and Coeur Sublime gave it his best. Burrows Saint under Ruby Walsh, trained by Willie Mullins stole the show winning the 2019 Irish Grand National in style. Whilst being at Fairyhouse, it was hard to not be reminded again by our own Thunder and Roses, part of the INS racing syndicate, when walking through the grandstand.
We are all hoping that this beautiful weather continues, as the mares and older foals are now outside full time, eating and sleeping under the stars in the Black Cherry yard.