Friday 18 October 2019

Michael O'Leary makes first major step in phasing out powerful Gigginstown racing team

Michael O’Leary
Michael O’Leary

Michael Verrney

The annual Gigginstown House Stud dispersal saw 31 lots owned by leading National Hunt owner Michael O'Leary change hands today in what is the first major step of the Ryanair chief's phasing out of his powerful racing team.

With O'Leary revealing in May that he wouldn't be buying any store horses or young horses as the Gigginstown operation winds down in the next five years, this is one of the initial landmarks in that gradual process.

O'Leary – one of the most successful owners in Irish racing who has enjoyed remarkable success at the Cheltenham Festival and the Aintree Grand National – shocked the racing world with that announcement and many of his stars found new homes today at the Goffs UK September Sale.

A Toi Phil was a winner for Gordon Elliott at Listowel last week but was sold for £70,000 with the Cullentra handler being the one who was hit hardest by today's sales as several left his Meath stable.

Elliott also lost Mithouka (£42,000), Poli Roi (£17,000) while Elliott 2018 Cheltenham winner Blow By Blow was sold for just £9,000 as Tombstone (£26,000), Ball D'Arc (£14,000), Invincible Cave (£10,000), Monition (£7,000) and Authorizo (£3,200) were also moved on.

Among the others to have carried O'Leary's famous maroon silks which were sold include three-time Grade One winner Valseur Lido – formerly trained by Henry de Bromhead – which went for £27,000 while the Waterford trainer also lost Monbeg Chit Chat (£14,000) and Avenir D'Une Vie (£9,000).

The remaining lots to have changed hands thus far include Joseph O'Brien's Eviscerating (£9,500) and the Noel Meade pair of Bel Ami De Sivola (£5,000) and Laverteen (£1,000).

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