Farm Ireland

Tuesday 12 December 2017

'Shaneshill is a good each way bet for JLT Chase'

Shaneshill is a contender for the JLT Novice Chase on St Patrick's Day
Shaneshill is a contender for the JLT Novice Chase on St Patrick's Day

Runner-up in his last two outings at Cheltenham, Shaneshill deserves to go one better this time out when tackling the mighty in the JLT Novice Chase on St Patrick's Day.

"I was there the past two years to cheer him on, but I'm not sure I will be able to make it this time round," said his breeder Declan Johnson.

By King's Theatre, the seven-year-old gelding comes from a hugely successful family being out of Darabaka, by Doyoun.

Darabaka also produced top hurdler Far Cry (Pharly), but proved to be a formidable dual-purpose mare as dam also of Misskinta (who produced the dual Group 2 winner Grandeur), and Sassenach, the dam of US Group 3 winner Dress Rehearsal and Listed winner Fairy Of The Night.

Mr Johnson purchased Darabaka at the 2005 November National Hunt Sale in Fairyhouse when in foal to Kayf Tara. That produced Charlie Cheesecake, who never raced, but the following year she produced the Refuse To Bend gelding CaptainoftheFleet, trained in Tipperary by Eamon O'Connell.

Her covering to King's Theatre in 2008 resulted in a colt, later named Shaneshill.

Purchased as a foal at Goffs by Kevin Ross for €33,000, he made an impressive debut on the point-to-point field in Bennetsbridge as a four-year-old when trained by Colin McKeever.

Later sold privately to his current trainer Willie Mullins for owners Andrea and Graham Wylie, Shaneshill went on to win his first two bumpers on the track and the Grade 1 bumper in Punchestown in 2014 on his fourth start.

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A convincing winner in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Chase at Naas in January, he finished fourth to Vaniteux in Doncaster at the end of the month, but is now expected to put in a big run against stablemate Douvan who beat him into second place in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle 12 months ago.

"He certainly would be a good each way bet," commented small-time breeder Mr Johnson, who is also credited with breeding dual Group 1 winning sire Lethal Force.

Having purchased his dam Land Army when in foal to Kyllachy, the breeder then sent the mare to Dark Angel in 2008.

Sold at Goffs as a foal for €9,500 and returning to Tattersalls to sell as a yearling for €8,500, Lethal Force proved a good buy for Clive Cox, who trained the grey for owner Alan Craddock to win both the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and the July Cup in 2013 before retiring to stand at Cheveley Park Stud in the UK.

Indo Farming