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Sunday 22 October 2017

Cruising offspring prove his worth on the global stage

OFFSPRING: Karen O'Connor and Mr Medicott jump the crosscountry fence at the London Olympics last year
OFFSPRING: Karen O'Connor and Mr Medicott jump the crosscountry fence at the London Olympics last year
HEY DAY: Trevor Coyle is pictured on Cruising during The Aga Khan Cup at the RDS Dublin back in 1999 DAVID MAHER/SPORTSFILE
Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

The great Irish Sport Horse sire Cruising once again proved his merit as a multi-purpose sire of both showjumping and event horses in the line-up at the four-star event in Pau, France.

Three of the top 10 ten horses in the tough event were sired by Hartwell Stud's resident sire: Mr Medicott under US rider Phillip Dutton took fourth place; Mr Cruise Control was fifth with New Zealand rider Andrew Nicholson and Ireland's own Joseph Murphy finished in eighth place on Electric Cruise.

Now 28 years of age, Mary McCann's stallion Cruising is still hale and hearty and even put in a guest appearance at the Equus Live show in Punchestown over the weekend.

The sire is a great example of Irish breeding for performance. Cruising is by the Irish Draught stallion Sea Crest, out of the three-quarter bred mare Mullacrew.

Sea Crest's bloodlines include Tara, dam sire of the renowned jumper stallion Clover Hill and Artic Que, another jumping sire. Sea Crest himself jumped to grade A level on the national circuit and Mullacrew was an international jumper with the Irish Army's Equitation School under John Ledingham.

Remarkably, Cruising was only her second and, ultimately, her last foal. Mullacrew was 17 years old and believed to be barren when she arrived at Hartwell Stud. In fact, her first successful mating was also a first for the sire, Sea Crest, who was three years old. The result was a horse called Steel Dust who was gelded and sold to America to jump with Joe Fargis. However injury, in the form of a broken knee, put paid to his chances of reaching the level of fame his sibling did.

Mullacrew's own breeding included two of the world's best thoroughbred sires of showjumpers: Nordlys sired huge numbers of showjumpers, including 1972 Olympic individual gold winner Ambassador, while Water Serpent featured in the pedigrees of some of the top showjumpers in Europe in the 1950s and 1960s, including 1963 European individual gold medallist Rockette.

PERFORMER

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Cruising himself was a consistent performer at the heights of international competition under Trevor Coyle, winning Grands Prix at Aachen in 1999, Dortmund in 1998, Lucerne in 1998, San Marino in 1996, Wolfsburg in 1996 and the World Cup qualifiers at Millstreet and Geneva 1998.

He was also a prolific team horse, winning Nations Cups in Dublin (1997), Rotterdam (1996), Calgary, Dublin, Aachen (all 1995) and Modena (1994).

Cruising is rated as a five-star stallion in Horse Sport Ireland's classification system, both for his own performance and for his progeny's performance.

Among his successful offspring are the top eventers mentioned above – Mr Medicott, Mr Cruise Control and Electric Cruise but also Flexible, winner of the World Cup final 2012 in s'Hertogenbosch, Grand Prix winner Mo Chroi, Irish team horse World Cruise, Nations Cup winner Larkhill Cruiser and Grand Prix winner Solerina.

Cruising is also the dam sire of Tim Stockdale's Kalico Bay and Aoife Clark's Olympic event horse Master Crusoe.

Interestingly, Mary McCann has taken tissue biopsies from her great stallion, which would allow her to clone the great jumper in the future.

"We've taken the biopsies but they're on hold at the moment. It would cost something like €200,000 to do it (cloning)," owner Mary McCann told the Farming Independent.

Irish Independent