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Independent.ie

Saturday 20 January 2018

Horses: Checking out Irish stallions from abroad

Visitors from the Czech Republic were among those who took part in the inaugural ITM Irish Stallion Trail

The legendary Sea The Stars, regarded as one of the greatest racehorses ever, was paraded for visitors at the Aga Khan's Gilltown Stud.
The legendary Sea The Stars, regarded as one of the greatest racehorses ever, was paraded for visitors at the Aga Khan's Gilltown Stud.
The record-breaking Guineas winner Helmet stands at Kildangan Stud
Slade Power in his stall at Kildangan Stud.

Siobhán English

Over the years Ireland has forged a strong relationship with racehorse trainers, thoroughbred breeders and owners from the Czech Republic.

With some 2,000 jump horses in training, and an equally healthy flat racing calendar, the influence of Irish bloodlines continues to blossom, with such winners as Luznice, Ray of Light and Donn Halling flying the flag in the past decade.

In addition, Irish trainers continue to support the famous Velka Pardubicka Steeplechase, dubbed the Czech Republic Grand National, held each October.

The pool of stallions in the Czech Republic stands at just 40. But it is hoped that the recent visit to Ireland by some 65 enthusiasts for the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing (ITM) Irish Stallion Trail will encourage more breeders to send some of their 400 or so broodmares to Irish sires during the 2015 breeding season.

The trip was organised by well-known Czech bloodstock agent Tomas Janda. In recent years he has purchased dozens of Irish-bred horses, both privately and through public auctions, many of whom started their racing career on one of the 16 tracks across the Czech Republic.

These include champion three-year-old Corcovada, and champion sprinters Waka Laura and Mikesh.

Janda was encouraged by the feedback from his companions during their five-day stay which also took in racing at Gowran, Dundalk and Leopardstown.

"The Stallion Trail was a great idea and it gave many of our owners a chance to see stallions ahead of the yearling sales next year," he said.

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"It also facilitated breeders who are interested in sending mares to Ireland to be covered by Irish sires. In total we will have visited 12 stud farms."

Nominations

The Czech group were among the estimated 2,500 people who took part in the inaugural ITM Irish Stallion Trail this month which saw 2,500 people visit the 25 participating studs over three days. All studs opened their doors to the public, with stallion shows taking place regularly each day.

"It was very well received and some of the smaller studs definitely sold nominations to sires. In addition, it really encouraged racegoers who would normally not get an opportunity to see these stallions," said ITM marketing executive Sarah Gavin.

Not surprisingly Coolmore Stud was oversubscribed, with many hoping to catch a glimpse of sires such as as Galileo and Camelot.

Kildangan Stud in Co Kildare was also exceptionally busy and manager Joe Osborne reflected on a successful few days. "We had a lot of visitors coming to see such sires as champion sprinter Slade Power, who is new for 2015, and also Casemento, who is proving very popular with a book of some 140 mares for 2015," he said.

Casemento is sire of Lope de Vega, who stands at Ballylynch Stud. He sired numerous Group One winners from his first crop, including Belardo, Hero Look, Burnt Sugar and Royal Razalma.

Gilltown Stud opened its doors to several hundred guests who came to see the legendary Sea The Stars, along with his half-brother Born To Sea, and Dalakhani.

"Having followed him on the track, it was lovely for racegoers to visit Sea The Stars and see where he is at now," commented Gilltown manager Pat Downes.

The Irish National Stud will stand 10 stallions for 2015 and among these are Melbourne Cup winner Americain. He previously stood at Swettenham Stud in Australia and also Calumet Farm in Kentucky. Other studs which participated include Ballylynch, Rathasker, Tara, Boardsmill and Ballyhane.

Charles O'Neill, CEO of Irish Thoroughbred Marketing, said: "The inaugural ITM Irish Stallion Trail was a great success and ITM would like to thank all the stud owners and their teams for making it such a memorable event. The Irish bloodstock industry is one of the best in the world, employs over 14,000 and contributes over €1 billion annually to the Irish economy. Work will start immediately on the ITM Irish Stallion Trail 2016."

Indo Farming