Derby winner who is built like a chaser
Anne Fitzgerald talks to Paddy Kinsella about the pedigree of his stud Darsi
THE first time that Paddy Kinsella of Beechbrook Stud saw Darsi was when he tuned in to watch the running of last year's Irish Derby. Little did he know that he would end up standing the horse at stud.
"I had no interest in anything in particular other than it was the Derby and what it might throw up in terms of prospective sires," said Paddy.
What did strike him was a remark by commentator Ted Walsh who described one runner after the other as a typical flat horse until he came to Darsi, "the French man" which he said was built like a chaser, the kind of horse that he would like to ride down to a fence.
Bred by the HH Aka Khan, Darsi went into training with Alain de Royer-Dupré in France and won an autumn maiden on his second start. Then, last year, he again won on his second start, this time the Prix de Courteuil in Chantilly over 12½ furlongs. Next run he won the Prix du Jockey Club and went from there to the Irish Derby where connections firmly expected him to be a serious opponent to Dylan Thomas. However, he broke a sesamoid bone during the race and finished fifth, lame. It was a career-ending injury.
It was late into the summer when Paddy got word through Anthony Bromley of Highflyer Bloodstock that Darsi might be for sale. In the interval, the horse had gone back to the Aga Khan's yard in Chantilly where he had to be confined to his box for 12 weeks.
Paddy first saw Darsi in the flesh in September and his reaction was "wow, he is a big imposing horse". He was still a racehorse but all the ingredients for a stallion were there, he adds.
By way of explanation, Paddy points out that, for a horse to appeal to breeders, he has to look more like a showhorse than a racehorse and be about 2-4 hundredweight heavier. "First impressions are critical. If, in ten years time, a horse is successful, it's not too important what he looks like but, to get mares in the first place, he has to look the part."