Twomey and Dubai prince form unlikely royal alliance
Paddy Twomey will be thrust into the limelight next week when his once-raced Curragh winner Van Der Decken sports Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin blue for a first time in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.
A native of Bandon in west Cork, Twomey is a well-established operator at a high level across the bloodstock industry. A pin-hooker and breeder whose breeding - as a mere 14-year-old - in 1993 of the Group One-winning sire Tagula sparked an irrepressible passion for the thoroughbred, Twomey is now based on Athassel House's 100-acre stud farm in Golden, Co Tipperary.
He carved a particularly fruitful niche for himself as a consignor of two-year-old breeze-up horses and is clearly especially efficient in that sphere.
However, over the past few years, he has taken to running a select few across both codes with good success.
Two of his four runners on the Flat this term have already won, and next week Van Der Decken will tackle Group Two company on the opening day of the Royal meeting.
Bought at public auction last October for around £54,600, the Dutch Art two-year-old was sold privately to the Dubai prince following a decisive victory on its debut under Wayne Lordan on the Sunday of Irish Guineas weekend.
The form of his Curragh victory has worked out well, and, while it might be a stretch to cast this as a rags-to-riches fairytale given Twomey's status in the industry, having a Royal Ascot runner for Sheikh Mohammed is still quite some coup. "I have been happy with him since the Curragh, he is thriving in his routine," Twomey said yesterday of Van Der Decken.
Conditions at headquarters were soft on the day that the colt - as low as 12/1 for Tuesday's £120,000 six-furlong contest - won impressively. The ground at Ascot may yet be on the slow side, but Twomey feels that his colt wouldn't be inconvenienced by better ground.
"We almost didn't run him at the Curragh because of the ground," he explains. "I rang Wayne twice the night before and twice the morning of it and we nearly didn't go. I imagine that better ground will be an advantage rather than a hindrance.
"He is a nice horse and I have been very lucky with the horses that I have raced; I enjoy the couple that I have. I bought a few bumper horses to train and bought a few Flat horses to train, and Van Der Decken was one of them. It is just something that is evolving of its own volition."
Meanwhile, Godolphin's Moonlight Magic will be on an atonement mission in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby on June 25. Jim Bolger's charge trailed in last behind Harzand in Saturday's Investec Derby, but Bolger has found nothing amiss with the colt or Turret Rocks, which also flopped in the Oaks.
"Moonlight Magic has been a bit quiet since, but there is nothing obviously wrong," Bolger indicated.
"We have done tests and are waiting to see if anything shows up. It was a similar story with Turret Rocks, and it just wasn't our weekend. We'll have to move on and hopefully we can aim them at the Irish Derby and the Oaks."