Sunday 11 December 2016

One Irish horse trainer has paid tribute to Conor McGregor in a unique way

Published 06/04/2016 | 17:12

Given Conor McGregor's huge level of success and fame at the moment, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the number of boys named after him to spike significantly in the next census.

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And while fans of the fighter will probably be sorely tempted to christen their child Conor, one Irish horse trainer has already gone ahead and done the next best thing.

Adrian Keatley was celebrating last Sunday as the McGregornator romped home in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden at The Curragh. The horse was three lengths behind entering the final furlong but showed immense stamina and power to surge clear and snatch the win in what was just his second race.

The horse exhibited the remarkable fighting spirit that its namesake is well known for, and Keatley doesn't think it is any conicidence.

"He was able to stay going towards the end when the other horses couldn't so it was a fitting name last Sunday," Keatley told Independent.ie.

"I was watching TV one night and I heard Conor McGregor say 'you have the Terminator and now you have the McGregornator' and it made me laugh. That is how he won on Sunday."

The 33-year-old trainer is only in his second full season with a licence and operates out of The Curragh. As he describes his initial thoughts about the horse after buying it, Keatley could easily be talking about McGregor during his early UFC career, equine references aside.

"I was following McGregor from the early days when he wasn't as popular and I thought he was a super athlete," Keatley said.

"I bought this horse at a sale and he was just a ball of muscle. He had a bit of an attitude about him and you wouldn't like to stand beside him for very long. He is a very flashy horse in the flesh. Some horses would shy away from their food when they are a bit sore but he never does."

It is certainly an eye-catching name but Keatley revealed that it isn't universally popular on the horse-racing circuit.

"Some people like it and some people don't like it," he said.

"I was having food with some people in Leopardstown and one of the guys said to me 'I didn't think it could be a good horse with a name like that'."

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