Sunday 19 May 2019

Shock as Michael O'Leary set to phase out Gigginstown House Stud racing operation over next 'four or five years'

The winner of the 2019 Randox Health Aintree Grand National Tiger Roll is led through the village of Summerhill in County Meath with trainer Gordon Elliott, left, and owner Michael O'Leary. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
The winner of the 2019 Randox Health Aintree Grand National Tiger Roll is led through the village of Summerhill in County Meath with trainer Gordon Elliott, left, and owner Michael O'Leary. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Leading National Hunt owner Michael O'Leary has shocked the racing world by revealing that he will not purchase any more young horses and is set to gradually phase out his powerful racing team over the next "four or five years".

O'Leary revealed to The Irish Field that his Gigginstown House Stud operation won't be buying any store horses or young horses as he intends to spend more time with his young family.

O'Leary has become one of the most successful owners in Irish racing – as well as enjoying remarkable success at the Cheltenham Festival and the Aintree Grand National – but it seems his time in racing is gradually coming to an end.

The Ryanair Chief Executive told the Irish Field: "We wish to sincerely thank all of our trainers and their teams for the enormous success we've enjoyed over the past decade but, as my children are growing into teenagers I am spending more and more of my time at their activities and I have less time for National Hunt racing.

"That's a situation that will continue for the foreseeable future. I hope that by running down our string over an extended four or five year period it will give our trainers ample time to replace our horses without disruption."

O'Leary has quickly become one of the most influential figures in racing with a huge string of horses rivalled only by JP McManus and his brother Eddie O’Leary, Gigginstown House Stud racing manager, elaborated on the shocking news.

“Michael is a big family man and his children are now growing up and given his extensive work commitments, he now wants to spend more time with his wife and family. As a result we are not going to be buying and more stores or young horses.

"We've just had the best season we've ever had in Ireland in terms of winners, and it's been an amazing year capped by Tiger Roll winning the Grand National for the second time last month.

"We've lots of young stock to be allocated amongst our trainers over the coming weeks and each of our trainers will receive their usual allocation of young point-to-pointers.

"Each and every one of these horses will remain in the Gigginstown colours for the entirety of their career so hopefully we have many more great days to look forward to into the future." 

Just last month O'Leary enjoyed one of his biggest triumphs as an owner when the Gordon Elliott-trained Tiger Roll completed back-to-back victories in the Aintree Grand National, the first horse to do since the mighty Red Rum in 1973/'74.

Cork native O'Leary, who is based in Mullingar, has won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on two occasions with the Mouse Morris-trained War Of Attrition prevailing in 2006 while Elliott's Don Cossack followed up ten years later with victory in the blue riband.

Elliott, Henry de Bromhead, Noel Meade and Joseph O'Brien will be the trainers affected most by O'Leary's decision to phase out his National Hunt interest with that quartet stabling a large number of Gigginstown-owned horses.

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