New foal and Cheltenham delight on same day for Laois breeder
It was a case of double delight for Laois farmer Paddy 'Whacker' Behan last week as Altior scooted home in Cheltenham's Arkle Chase and his dam Monte Solaro (pictured with Paddy) gave birth to a half sister on the same day.
The rising star of the National Hunt circuit, Altior was bred by the Behans at their base in Tierhogar near Portarlington, but is now owned in England by Patricia Pugh and trained by Nicky Henderson.
"We were all in the sun room at home watching Altior win. The shouting and roaring was something awful," Paddy said.
"He's a lovely horse but he didn't seem to like the sticky ground at Cheltenham," Paddy told the Farming Independent this week.
But no sooner had the Altior excitement subsided than Monte Solaro went into equine labour and Paddy, along with his son Paddy Jnr, were to the breeding shed for the evening.
"Monte gave birth at just two minutes to midnight and everything went well. She's a lovely filly and was no bother. She was out in the field on Wednesday with her mother and they were playing around," Paddy said.
The new arrival is by Coolmore sire Walk In The Park, who stands at the Grange Stud. "I'll have to go down now to the Grange Stud and hand over my €8,000 in stud fees. There's an awful lot of tenners in €8,000 for a small farmer," Paddy joked.
The Behans run a one-mare stud at their former tillage farm in Tierhogar and the mare has been remarkable family servant.