Stallions back in the showing ring at the RDS
Absent from RDS Show for the last three years, the return of the Croker Cup competition for showing stallions has been welcomed by sport horse breeders
The return of the Croker Cup to the Dublin Horse Show will be welcomed by sport horse breeders throughout Ireland.
Over the past decade this prestigious class for stallions has been won by such notable thoroughbred stallions as Financial Reward, Watermill Swatch and Power Blade.
However, a decline in entries saw the class dropped from the programme in 2012, and the Cup has remained in the vaults of the RDS ever since.
"It was a shame to see it go in the first place, but we are delighted it's back this year. It's important to me as my stallion has had a few foals winning this year already," commented John Varley, owner of Elusive Emir who is among eight lining out in Ring 1 on Saturday afternoon.
Varley's charge was among those who only paraded in 2014, but even that publicity alone was valuable and the fully-approved 11-year-old filled a book of mares for 2015.
"It's important to give us owners a focus and for breeders to see these stallions in the flesh," he added.
Eleven years have passed since Spirit House won here, but the 17-year-old is set to make a return with his handler John Kirwan.
Spirit House joins other such veterans as Aristotle, now 18, and Barbara Hatton's 16-year-old home-bred Golden Master. This hugely popular son of Master Imp has produced several eventers, including Camilla Speirs' young horse BT Cloud Nine.