09 June 2017

You had a great win at the Punchestown Festival with Vision Des Flos in the Goffs Land Rover Bumper, who went on to top the sale at €270,000, having cost Paurick O’Connor €25,000 at the Land Rover the year previous. He now looks a bit of a bargain at that original price- what promise did you see in him at the beginning?

He was a nice size with plenty of scope. I like to buy a mixture of pedigree and a nice type if possible, and he was both.

You also trained the 2016 winner of the race, Coeur De Lion, with both having been bought from Norman Williamson. I’m guessing you’ll be back raiding his consignment again this year?

They say good things come in threes and we’ve bought a few nice ones already from Norman so we may need to look elsewhere this time! We’ll definitely be buying there again this year, though; looking for the next star!

When looking for value at the store sales, what faults will you overlook and what characteristics do you insist on?

I’m not sure what faults I’d overlook; I find conformation very important. I like a horse with size and scope- if they tick all those boxes I’d be willing to overlook their pedigree.

Another horse you made a nice profit on this year is Jet Set (IRE); who you bought for €26,000 at the Derby Sale, won her point-to-point by five lengths, and sold on for €80,000. Tell us a little more about her.

She’s a nice, tall, racy type- an attractive mare with a good pedigree to boot.

Other mares you’ve done very well with include Carrigmoorna Rock (IRE) and Byerley Babe (IRE). What are your thoughts on the current market and programme for national hunt fillies?

The programme is improving all the time; not only in Ireland, but also in the UK. I’ve always bought fillies as it was easier to buy a nice filly than a nice gelding. I’ve done well with them, but now I have more competition when trying to buy them- even the British trainers are getting in on the act.

Jet Set (IRE) is by an exciting young sire in Getaway. Would he be your pick at the moment?


He’s definitely a stallion on the up and would have to be the pick of the young boys. Another that’s starting to catch the eye with his stock is Fame and Glory.

Who would be your choice of the older sires?

Oscar. We’ve had a lot of success with his progeny. They’re straightforward to train and are nice, honest types.

Moving back to the track, give us a horse of yours to follow in the future.

Big Debates. He’s a four-year-old by Sholokhov (IRE) who finished second on his only start at Dromahane. He wasn’t himself that day but we like him at home. I’m not sure if I’ll wait to run him in another point-to-point or if we’ll head straight to the racecourse.

Do you have a favourite point-to-point track?

Dromahane has been good to us and is very popular with both sellers and buyers. It’s a fair track with no hiding place.

What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the industry at the moment?

Brexit. What happens is still up in the air but I would be worried about how it will affect the movement of horses, as well as how it affects the UK economy, as they’re our biggest market.

Finally, what do you think makes Irish horses the best in the world?

They have the upper hand in how they train on, whereas a lot of other horses don’t. That’s very important.


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