10 March 2017

Will you be attending the Cheltenham Festival this year?

No, unfortunately it comes too close to foaling and calving season so I’ll just have to watch it on the television!

How do you rate On The Fringe (IRE)’s chances in the Foxhunters next week?

I think he has a great chance. He was very impressive at Leopardstown on his last run and even though he finished second, it was a very encouraging start to the season for him.

On The Fringe (IRE) has been a remarkable servant to connections and unbelievably consistent. What was he like as a foal?

He was an exceptionally good foal with a brilliant walk; very correct and a great looker. He sold for €47,000 (at Tattersalls Ireland), which would have been a strong price that year.

Coney Island (IRE) has unfortunately been ruled out of the Festival with a stone bruise but holds an entry in the Irish Grand National. Do you have any more from the family?

I have a six-year-old Yeats (IRE) half-sister to his dam and Wichita Lineman (IRE). Named Dreambaby (IRE), she won twice for Willie Mullins and will visit Getaway in the next week or so. Getaway is a sire I like a lot; he gets very good looking stock and I supported him in his first season and twice since.

You’ve bred an impressive number of Cheltenham Festival winners. What makes your stock so suited to and successful at a track that’s known to be the ultimate test?

We’ve been very lucky with the pedigrees we’ve had but I think the trick has been keeping numbers low and standards high. We keep a maximum of six to eight mares and we’re ruthless in managing our stock- if a mare isn’t producing good foals, we sell her.

There’s no point holding on to mares if they don’t, though I might be more sentimental about our national hunt mares as we’ve had some of the pedigrees for a long time.

How did you get into breeding racehorses?

I’m a dairy farmer by trade and did my three month farm apprenticeship at Frank Motherway’s Yellowford Farm in 1986. That’s where I ‘caught the bug’, as they say.

Give us a ‘horse to follow’ from your farm.

There’s a Camelot two-year-old with Aidan O’Brien that I’m very excited to see run. He’s out of the Galileo (IRE) mare Quiritis, who is a full-sister to Mahler.

Is Camelot your first season sire pick for 2017?

I think he’ll be a top-class sire but I don’t think we’ll see a lot of his stock until next year. I think a more precocious type will top the tables- Lethal Force (IRE) could be exciting. 

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