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Airlie Beach the story that keeps on giving


Airlie Beach in action, with Danny Mullins up. Photo: Sportsfile

Airlie Beach in action, with Danny Mullins up. Photo: Sportsfile

Airlie Beach in action, with Danny Mullins up. Photo: Sportsfile

Everybody loves a good story and in years to come the yarn about Grade One winner Airlie Beach will be told and hardly believed.

Having continued her winning sequence in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle last Sunday, the story of this unbeaten seven-time winner, owned by a syndicate and trained by the champion trainer, is far from over.

This isn't a story that started with the Grade One win, or even humble beginnings in a Kilbeggan bumper which was followed by a mares maiden hurdle win at the same venue nearly a year later.

It's deeper than that and hard to believe but here's one story I challenge you to better.

On the 15th of November 2011, Harold Kirk, the chief purchaser of the equine talent that Willie Mullins brings to the track, made a €25,000 purchase of a yearling called Miguel Angel.


After shipping the yearling home from the sales in Deauville, the horse was put out in the paddock with a couple of homebreds owned by the Mullins family and as his time to be broken and trained was still some bit away, not much more was thought about him.

The issue here was that Kirk and the Mullins team had presumed that Miguel Angel was gelded at the time of purchase, but that was indeed not the case and he was still very much a colt.

So at some stage, likely to be in early 2012, as a two-year-old, Miguel Angel picked out Airlie Beach, who was one of the mares in the paddock with him, and impregnated her with a foal which obviously went unnoticed by all in Closutton for some time.

Indeed, at the time that Airlie Beach was covered by Miguel Angel while they both would have been officially described as two-year-olds at the start of the calender year, they would actually still have conceived their foal prior to their two-year-old birthday as they themselves were foaled in May and April respectively.

It was when staff at the Mullins yard began to notice that Airlie Beach was looking somewhat heavy in the paddock that they suspected something and by that stage the only option was to allow her have her foal.

It turned out to be a gelding and thankfully, all three horses were none the worse despite the obvious risk of complications given the age of the parents.

Miguel Angel was subsequently gelded and was a winner at Tramore in June at the third time of asking. Airlie Beach has given her syndicate of owners a number of brilliant days but last Sunday was one that they'll never forget.

Their son is now a three-year-old gelding and is broken and in training with Willie Mullins but as of yet is still without a name or an owner so there genuinely is an opportunity for somebody to snap up a rare piece of this incredible story.

Both his father and his mother have won races and his mother is already a Grade One winner.

And to think Airlie Beach was lucky to survive a bad colic as a yearling...

As I said, this story is far from over yet!