Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Wednesday 19 September 2018

Midas touch - The farmer's sons who are the go-to-men for elite of national hunt racing

The Doyle brothers have become the go-to men for buyers in search of point-to-point horses with big potential

Trainer Donnchadh Doyle inspecting one of the lots on offer at the August National Hunt Sale at Tattersalls. Photo: Healy Racing
Trainer Donnchadh Doyle inspecting one of the lots on offer at the August National Hunt Sale at Tattersalls. Photo: Healy Racing
The graduates of Monbeg Stables include Monbeg Notorious, seen here on his way to winning this year's Thyestes Chase in Gowran Park under Jack Kennedy. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Siobhán English

It has been quite a few weeks for Donnchadh Doyle and the team at Monbeg Stables. Breaking sales records, and churning out nine point-to-point winners in a single weekend - it is one spring season that they will remember for years to come.

"The horses have been flying for us, we've been very lucky," 31-year-old Donnchadh commented as he jumped on a flight to the UK last week to attend the Tattersalls Ireland Ascot March Sale.

Travelling the length and breadth of Ireland and beyond is a weekly routine the Wexford native has now become well accustomed to, since his business of buying and selling young Irish point-to-pointers took off over five years ago.

Together with his brother Sean, they regularly make the headlines when it comes to young and talented Irish-bred National Hunt horses.

Notable graduates in recent years include double Cheltenham winner Holywell, Welsh Grand National winner Monbeg Dude and Randox Health Grand National runner-up, The Last Samurai, who takes his chance at Aintree again this coming weekend.

Others include the 2018 Thyestes Chase and Ten Up Novice Chase winner Monbeg Notorious, the hugely promising Willie Mullins-trained Redhotfillypeppers and Nicky Henderson's charge, Claimantakinforgan.

The graduates of Monbeg Stables include Monbeg Notorious, seen here on his way to winning this year's Thyestes Chase in Gowran Park under Jack Kennedy. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
The graduates of Monbeg Stables include Monbeg Notorious, seen here on his way to winning this year's Thyestes Chase in Gowran Park under Jack Kennedy. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Horses and farming have both been in the Doyle family for years and so it was only natural that the next generation would follow one or the other. While his father Michael still farms part-time at home, Donnchadh chose thoroughbreds, as did his brothers Sean, Cormac, Gearoid and Eamon. Micheál, meanwhile trains greyhounds, while Colman farms in the UK. Their only sister, Cait, works as a teacher.

Another brother, Tomas, also lives on the farm and has carved a career producing sport horses along with his wife, Marti Rudd.

Also Read


Donnchadh and Sean now hold separate training licences, but they are still very much a team when it comes to the business of buying and selling. Cormac also has a few horses now in training, while Gearóid continues to make a good recovery from a bad fall at home last year.

Eamon is involved in the day-to-day running of the business with Donnchadh.

Championship

"Sean and I would run separate operations but the horses would run under the Monbeg Syndicate with the hope to buy store horses as three-year-olds at the sales and then sell them after running and hopefully winning their point-to-points," Donnchadh said.

There is no doubt they have a serious eye for talent. At the end of the 2014/2015 point-to-point season, Donnchadh shared the spoils in trainer's championship with neighbour and long-time friend Colin Bowe.

For the past two seasons he had to settle for second place behind Bowe, but in recent weeks the tables have turned once again and Donnchadh's flurry of winners last month pushed him back up to the top of the leaderboard with two months to go.

At this time of year, Donnchadh's yard is full to capacity with some 50 horses in training. Most of these were sourced as three-year-olds last year, with many of these having already been sold on in recent weeks.

Sean is equally busy with another 30 horses in his care, including Crossgue Boy, a winner of three novice chases on the track in March.

Dlauro is one point-to-pointer of note which made the news more than once in February. Purchased at Doncaster as a three-year-old in 2016 for almost €38,000, the French-bred gelding won his maiden at Bellharbour comfortably by six lengths for Donnchadh before being sent to the Cheltenham Sale, where he made a record €461,000 when snapped up by trainer Joseph O'Brien.

"When we buy horses like Dlauro as three-year-olds, you just get him into the system here and like all the horses we have you just try to keep them all fit and well and healthy and get them to the point-to-point in good form," he said.

Pedigree is always important when it comes to making a new purchase and this was certainly the case for another graduate, The Big Getaway. By Getaway and out of the Saddlers' Hall mare, Saddlers Dawn, he comes from the same family as the great Dawn Run, winner of both the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup at Cheltenham, amongst other accolades, in the 1980s.

Picked up at the 2017 Derby Sale at Tattersalls Ireland for €28,000, The Big Getaway won his four-year-old maiden at the Horse & Jockey fixture and a few days later he was offered for sale during the Cheltenham Festival.

Here he caught the eye of Harold Kirk, who parted with €262,000 for the promising youngster, who will now go into training here with Willie Mullins. It indeed proved to be a profitable few days for the Monbeg team as also moving to new homes were first-time winners Bubbles of Gold, Brewers Project and Feel My Pulse, the latter making €330,000 when knocked down to Mags O'Toole for trainer Gordon Elliott.

With all this success, though, comes hard work, and this certainly runs in the family. "We have eight staff here at the moment and it's very busy," Donnchadh said.

"At this time of year horses are being sold, but once the summer comes in the yard will fill up again with three-year-olds to be broken," he added.

The graduates of Monbeg Stables include Monbeg Notorious, seen here on his way to winning this year's Thyestes Chase in Gowran Park under Jack Kennedy PHOTO: Matt Browne/Sportsfile


For Stories Like This and More
Download the FarmIreland App


Indo Farming

Get the latest news from the FarmIreland team 3 times a week.





More in Rural Life