Paddy's the man as far as Barton is concerned
FEW OF us will ever receive a phone call telling us that a controversial English international soccer player loves us, but that was exactly the message relayed to horse breeder Paddy Doyle during Cheltenham week.
Killurin-based Paddy, who has already produced an international soccer star through son, Kevin, has now added a double Cheltenham winner to his impressive CV courtesy of this year's Pertemps Final winner, 'Holywell'.
The Jonjo O'Neill-trained 'Holywell' (10/1) broke a frustrating run of second place finishes when holding on to win the third race on the opening day of this year's Festival. He was steered to victory by jockey Richie McLernon, who reported afterwards that he would not have been able to believe how well he was going turning into the straight. Back home in County Wexford, however, his breeder had every faith in his former lodger.
'I had a few bob on him,' says Paddy, 'and I had him backed last year too. I wouldn't be a very lucky punter so the win was welcome. He is out of 'Hillcrest' by 'Gold Well' and was sold on at the Land Rover Sale in 2010 to the Farmer (Seán) Doyle in Ballindaggin for €7,000 who in turn sold him on for €70,000 to Jonjo O'Neill. I was delighted when he did the job at Cheltenham, for the second time.'
Indeed, 'Holywell' scored at point-to-point level at Kinsale in October, 2011 for Doyle, when ridden by Andrew Latta, and Doyle has fond memories of the future Cheltenham star whom he bought on the recommendation of Peter Nolan of Jamestown Stud.
'My son Pádraig was down in the Coopers Inn in Killurin and rang me to tell me that Joey Barton loves me,' continues Paddy. 'Apparently he tweeted that Kevin had passed on the tip, and Joey had a nice touch. I'm not on Twitter myself though.'
Paddy was born and reared on a farm in Adamstown and his association with horses formulated when he was very young. A hunter and pony rider, he bought a farm in Killurin 19 years ago, and also began his breeding career around then.
'I'll have twelve broodmares to foal this year,' he says. 'As with any breeder I'll have some good and some bad ones. The first mare I bought was a half-sister to the 1993 Gold Cup winner 'Jodami'.
'We've had a few nice ones come out of here down through the years. 'Megan's Joy' who was trained by Colm Murphy came out of here and we had a horse called 'Native Rainbow' that once beat the great 'Moscow Flyer' into third in a flat race at Gowran Park.
'Kevin loves the horses too and has a broodmare which is due to foal any day, a half-sister to 'Cousin Vinny'.
'I'm lucky enough to love breeding horses and everything that goes with the industry. I always said that I'd love to breed a Cheltenham winner. I've done that now, to own one would be nice too.'
In-form jockey Mikey Fogarty, featured in the 'Irish Independent' by racing expert Richard Forristal yesterday (Monday), was on target again at Thurles on Thursday last when partnering the Willie Mullins-trained 'Mikael D'Haguenet' (7/4) to a two-and-a-half-length success in the Raceourse Hurdle over the Colin Bowe-trained 'Gold Patrol' (10/3), ridden by Ballingdaggin's Barry O'Neill.
Davidstown's Paul Nolan scored in the Flat Race at Gowran Park on Saturday evening when the Robbie McNamara-ridden 'Fine Article' (13/8f) obliged. Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning were up and running in the concluding Irish Stallion Farms Breeders' Fund Maiden at The Curragh on Sunday when 'Answered' (2/1) was first past the post.
There will be a strong Wexford interest in the main event, the handicap hurdle, at Cork on Thursday afternoon where the aforementioned 'Gold Patrol', Colm Murphy's recent winner 'Express Du Berlais', Liz Doyle's 'Mini Vic' and Paul Nolan's 'Carloswayback' all hold entries.
Wexford County Council welcomed trainers Bolger and Aidan O'Brien as Wexford Ambassadors at a special ceremony at The Curragh Racecourse on Sunday. Both high-profile trainers were formally inducted into the county's Ambassador Programme, having been considered 'ideal representatives'.
There is a sire on fire at the Garryrichard Stud at present where 'Jeremy' has fathered five runners in the past week resulting in four winners, two seconds and a fourth.
Aidan O'Brien was very pleased after checking out over 30 horses in after-racing work at The Curragh on Sunday, including Classic hopefuls 'Australia' and 'War Command'. 'Australia' is top of the ante-post markets on the Qipco 2000 Guineas and Investec Derby, and he travelled in mid-division under Joseph O'Brien in his group, which also featured Dewhurst winner 'War Command' (Colm O'Donoghue), who could yet head to the French Guineas.
Perhaps the most eye-catching quote from O'Brien after the works concerned 'Australia', with him commenting: 'He is the second-best horse I have ever trained and the best was not a Flat horse. The great 'Istabraq'. He was a class above everything he raced against'.
O'Brien also reported he has the Yorkshire Oaks in mind as a target for his French recruit 'Chicquita', who won the Irish Oaks last term when trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre.
High-flying jockey Jamie Codd clocked up a double at the point-to-point meeting at Borris at the weekend.
Racing takes place at the following Irish racetracks over the coming weeks: Thursday, March 27, Cork (first race off at 2.45 p.m.); Friday, March 28, Dundalk (first race off at 6.15 p.m.); Saturday, March 29, Navan (first race off at 2.15 p.m.), Sunday, March 30, Leopardstown (first race off at 2.10 p.m.), and Limerick (first race off at 2.20 p.m.).