Missing link: cancellation of the Croker Cup class at the RDS is big blow
The cancellation of the Croker Cup class at the RDS is a big blow to thoroughbred stallion owners, reports Siobhán English
Over 60pc of the foals entered for this year's Breeders' Championship at the Dublin Horse Show are by thoroughbred stallions, yet there will be no showcase for their sires following the cancellation of the Croker Cup once again.
Reduced to a parade for a number of years before being re-introduced last year, the Croker Cup has in the past served as a fantastic shop window for such sires as the 2015 winner Elusive Emir, who this year will instead be represented at the show by several of his yearlings and foals in their respective classes.
"I am so disappointed that the class has gone, but to be honest there is little incentive for people given the high costs of actually getting there and the fact there is no prize-money," said John Varley, owner of Elusive Emir.
"The prize-money for the Irish Draught stallions is phenomenal - €1,800 to the winner - yet you don't see too many Irish Draughts winning the Breeders' Championship.
"I supported the thoroughbred stallion for class for three years with Elusive Emir and every year we got new mares out of it. Last year when he won the phone never stopped ringing and he covered well over 80 mares this year. On top of that we had offers to buy him from people in Germany and Holland.
"In my opinion an entire review needs to be done to get the class back to the RDS. If they could get a sponsor to come on board and have prize-money it would encourage owners again. Had we known in time that there were so few entries I would have definitely returned to support it again," he said.
Mr Varley noted that, in the case of his stallion, there was a huge resurgence in the number of Irish Draught mares being covered this year. "It was encouraging to see so many breeders going down the 'traditional' route," he said.