Sunday 21 December 2014

Keep an eye out for the real Tullow Tank

Sean O'Brien

Published 15/02/2013 | 04:00

The Tullow Tank finishes second on his point-to-point debut – after this, Sean O'Brien and his fellow owner sold the horse to Dublin stockbroker Barry Connell

Anyone who saw or heard me shouting at my phone in a coffee shop in Dublin last Saturday afternoon probably thought I had lost the run of myself.

Being on my feet for the day at Leopardstown wouldn't have been ideal preparation for the Six Nations game with England, so I had to settle for watching Davy Russell win the Hennessy Gold Cup on Sir Des Champs on the phone instead.

I have gotten to know Davy quite well over the past year, which is why I got a bit excited.

To be honest, I forgot where I was as he led Flemenstar over the last. I was screaming, "Go on, Davy," so the strange looks I got from other customers were to be expected.

I had A few bob on him, but, ever since I became more interested in racing over the past couple of years, mam and dad are the whole time warning me not to throw away my money.

They know best, of course, and it's not the gambling that appeals to me anyway. I just find a day at the races or a point-to-point enjoyable.

Fergus McFadden and Sean Cronin are friends on the Ireland and Leinster squads who also take an interest, so it's nice to have a bit of banter about the horses – especially with Cheltenham looming.

A couple of years ago, I met 'Frosty' Kelly, Davy's agent, at the rugby club in Tullow. We've become good friends since, to the point that we've named my second horse after him.

Frosty is a great fella – he knows everything about every horse in the country – but he bears an uncanny resemblance to Nidge from the 'Love/Hate' series. Well, in the last series Nidge succeeded in making the phrase 'coola boola' trendy again, so that's what the current horse is called! He is being trained by Sam Curling near Cashel and should be ready to run in a point-to-point over the next few weeks.

I share Koola Boola with Paul Duffin, who had great success with Oscar Dan Dan and Made In Taipan. He is working well and, if we have as much luck with Koola Boola as we did with The Tullow Tank (named after my good self, of course), I'll be happy.

We sold on 'The Tank' after Sam produced him to finish second on his pointing debut last March. Philip Fenton trains him now for Barry Connell and he ran a race full of promise when trotting into fourth on his track bow at Leopardstown a few weeks ago, so he's one to look out for.

The first time I met Davy was when Frosty arranged for him to give The Tank a test drive before he ran last year. Davy is renowned for being honest, so it was music to our ears when he said that he should win races. I reckon he will soon be proved right.

Although dad has kept the odd brood mare at home for years, it was always cows and cattle that I was into. I get a great kick out the racing now and enjoy a day's shooting, if I can find time every month.

However, the farming is still where it's at for me.

After a defeat like Sunday's, it's a great release to go home and spend a few hours on the land, doing whatever needs to be done. It's only a small farm and dad manages it pretty well most of the time, but I'd rather be out helping with the calving, like I was on Monday and Tuesday, than sitting at home dwelling on what went wrong.

That will all be thrashed out over the next week or so anyway and I feel it was just basic errors which were our undoing on the day. We presented England with handy penalties, but if we played them again today I reckon the result would be different.

We've just got to suck it up now and make sure we put ourselves in the best possible position for the rest of the championship. There is still an awful lot left to play for.

For more information on racing in Ireland this weekend check out www.goracing.ie

Irish Independent

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