Thursday 13 December 2018

Newbawn horse first in Grand National

General Principle was born and bred at Arctic Tack Stud

General Principle, left, with JJ Slevin up, jumps the last during the first circuit
General Principle, left, with JJ Slevin up, jumps the last during the first circuit

David Looby

The winning horse in the Grand National was born and bred in a Newbawn stud farm.

20-1 shot winner General Principle was born at Arctic Tack Stud Farm, owned by Eoin Banville, who was watching the edge-of-your-set race with more interest than most on Monday last week.

Eoin sold the impressive horse for €20,000 through Paul Thomond and he ended up in Michael O'Leary's stables to be trained by Gordon Elliott.

General Principle won the Irish Grand National at the death for Elliott, who triumphed over his great rival Willie Mullins's horse Isleofhopendreams. The precious inches he stole at the end of a dramatic Grand National in Punchestown meant a prize money swing between the two men of €175,000 (£153,000) and give Elliott an excellent chance of becoming champion Irish trainer for the first time, ending a run of ten consecutive titles for Mullins.

The Wexford connection does not end there either, as the winning jockey on General Principle was JJ Slevin, who hails from Kiltrea, Caim, Enniscorthy.

Eoin said he always thought his former horse had great potential but never dreamed that he would one day win a Grand National, while the O'Leary camp also had concerns about his staying ability.

He said: 'I thought he was a very nice horse but I genuinely didn't think he would be good enough to win a Grand National, which was just a bonus. I remember I had Tony Mullins in the field one day and he said he was a proper national type of horse. How prophetic he was!'

General Principle's father and mother were in Arctic Tack Stud Farm for many years. The father was sold to Coolmore Stud but has since died and the mother, who is now 22, is still in the Newbawn stud farm.

Eoin said the success of General Principle should be good for business. 'If you breed a good horse, you get it back in kind. You get an awful lot of repeat trade. The pedigree is there.'

The growing stud farm employs one full time and one part-time staff member.

New Ross Standard