Tuesday 19 November 2019

Top stallion dies just two days before VIP parade

Tom Brady

The top stallion Verglas, who died after an accident.

ONE of racing's top stallions died just hours before he was due to be inspected by horse- lover Queen Elizabeth. Verglas had been standing as a sire at the National Stud in Kildare town for the past six years.

But he died as a result of an accident on Tuesday as he was being prepared for the visit of the queen and Prince Philip this morning.

Verglas was one of eight stallions at the National Stud, with a fee of €10,000 per service. He was one of the top 10 Irish-based sires of 2010.

Stud chief executive John Osborne said last night that it was with great sadness he confirmed the death of Verglas, "one of our most popular stallions". "Staff are distraught at the news, which followed a tragic accident during the normal course of business," Mr Osborne said.

"Along with Invincible Spirit, Amadeus Wolf and Jeremy, he was among our top stallions and has left behind him an incredible legacy of wins."

Born in 1994, Verglas had been with the National Stud since 2005 and had been previously based in France. During his racing career, he was trained on the Curragh by Kevin Prendergast, and then moved to Charlie Whittingham in the US.

As part of the queen's visit this morning, it was intended that all of the stud's stallions, including Verglas, be put on parade.

A small group of guests, including representatives of the horseracing industry, have been invited to the stud for the visit, which is expected to last about half an hour.

The queen will then be taken by road across the Curragh to Gilltown Stud, outside Kilcullen, where the owner, the Aga Khan, will host a private reception, lasting a couple of hours.

While in Gilltown it is expected that the queen will exchange views with the Aga Khan on the likely winners of the flat racing classics this year.

A keen breeder, the queen is hoping to win the Epsom Derby for the first time next month when her colt, Carlton House, is likely to start as favourite.

The Aga Khan is hoping that his luck will hold at the weekend when his filly Emiyna will be one of the favourites to win the 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh on Sunday.

The queen will then return by road to Dublin. Hundreds of troops are being deployed to back up gardai providing protection for her cavalcade along the N7 and on minor roads across the Curragh.

Aerial support will be provided by the Garda Defender plane and an EC-135 helicopter.

The Army will also deploy its anti-missile and surveillance radar equipment at the Curragh.

The massive security operation is being spearheaded by the regional commander in the east, Assistant Garda Commissioner Dermot Jennings.

Irish Independent

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