Sunday 24 September 2017

Mare gets naming rights for national stud's first foal of year

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

If this potential future star of the racecourse doesn't like her name, she'll know who to blame -- her mother.

The gangly little three-week-old filly foal was given the name Heritage Island yesterday at a novel naming ceremony at the Irish National Stud in Kildare.

The foal, daughter of prized stallion Verglas which died in a tragic accident last summer, frolicked in the field as her mother Dreamaway made her decision.

Faced with five feed buckets, each bearing a different name, the four-year-old mare nosed her way to the Heritage Ireland bucket.

The stud had launched a competition online and on Twitter to get suggestions of names for the first foal born at the stud this year before whittling it down to a shortlist of five.

The foal has a strong pedigree as she is the daughter of Verglas, the statuesque grey stallion, which died last summer in a stable accident just before Queen Elizabeth's historic visit to the Kildare stud.

Some 60 foals sired by Verglas at a fee of €10,000 per service are expected to be born this year. "We expect strong demand as it will be the last of the line," John Osborne, chief executive of the state-owned stud, said.

"In the same way as rock stars and film stars, for stallions death can often be a good move," he added.

Within months of his death, one of the stallion's offspring added a prized Group One race to his name.

The newly named filly will be on show at the stud when it opens its gates for the tourist season this Sunday, February 12, with free pony rides for the first time.

The stud and Japanese Gardens are hoping for a further boost in tourism numbers this year after the British Royal visit made international headlines.

It is expected around 100 foals will be reared on the farm this spring, while other mares will come in just to give birth before returning to their owners.

Irish Independent

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