Monday 27 February 2017

Horses gave spur in race to the top

Michael Brennan

Michael Brennan

Like many developers who made it big during the boom years of the Celtic Tiger, Stephen Harris got involved in the horse racing industry.

He bought a 50-acre farm in Cartymore, near Athenry in Galway, and transformed it into an extensive stud farm. He called it Glenview House Stud and set up a company in the same name with himself and his wife Marie as the directors.

They went on a buying spree, acquiring horses at an astonishing rate: records from Tattersalls show that they bought 44 racehorses at a total cost of €1.17m between 2005 and 2007.

Records from Goffs showed that they bought another 21 racehorses at a total cost of €894,000 between 2005 and 2008.

Eye-watering

Some of the prices were eye-watering, such as €950,000 in 2007 for Flame of Gibraltar, whose sire sparked the bitter ownership battle between Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and John Magnier. But as the economic recession began to bite, Mr Harris and his wife started to sell more horses than they were buying.

The Glenview House Stud company was dissolved in February this year. Its most recent accounts show that it made a loss of around €217,000 in 2008. And the Glenview House Stud farm itself is now up for sale.

Irish Independent

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