WELL done to Castledillon Stud’s Timmy Hillman who spent the not inconsiderable amount of €53,000 on a colt foal by Gentlewave (Monsun) in November at the Tattersalls Ireland National Hunt Sale.

For this he acquired a colt by a stallion who started his career in France, moved to Yorton Stud for a couple of seasons, went back to France, but returned to Yorton where he is currently based. Best known as the sire of Grade 2 chaser Gentlemansgame and the Kerry National winner Poker Party, Gentlewave won the Group 1 Derby Italiano and was runner-up in the Irish Derby at the Curragh.

The colt that Hillman purchased is out of a mare, Miss Bailly (Kapgarde), who won three times over jumps in France, possesses a strong female line, but is still in the early stages of her present career as a broodmare. Her first foal didn’t race, and the second, Ascending Lark (Great Pretender), was placed twice from just three starts in bumpers last spring.

However, most interest for Hillman surely surrounds the third offspring of Miss Bailly. This is Romeo Coolio (Kayf Tara), and he won his only start in a point-to-point last year before selling for £420,000 in March to Aidan O’Ryan and Gordon Elliott.

Donnchadh Doyle sent Romeo Coolio out to win on his debut, and the Monbeg Stables man had spent €92,000 to acquire the gelding at the Derby Sale. Now the gelding is a bumper winner on his racecourse debut, and his trainer clearly rates him highly.

After the victory, Elliott described Romeo Coolio as “a proper horse and it’s all about the future for him. I think he’s a real good one. Whatever he does this year is a bonus. He’ll go straight to Cheltenham now.”

Further success

Should Romeo Coolio go on and win the Grade 1 Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, he would simply be adding further top-level success to a family that is packed with quality.

It is also interesting to know that, having purchased Romeo Coolio, Gordon Elliott then spent €265,000 at the Derby Sale to get his hands on Butchers Bill (Kayf Tara), his now four-year-old half-brother.

Other young stock out of Miss Bailly are a three-year-old Crystal Ocean (Sea The Stars) filly and a two-year-old colt by Passing Glance (Polar Falcon).

Miss Bailly is a full-sister to the English listed bumper and hurdle winner Cap Soleil (Kapgarde), and a half-sister to the French listed hurdle winner Prince Picard (Sleeping Car). Cap Soleil is now based at Rathmore Stud following her purchase last January for £75,000, and the foal she was carrying, a filly by Crystal Ocean, sold for €62,000 in December.

Their dam Move Again (Noir Et Oir) won five races, two of them over jumps, and did exceptionally well at stud. From nine foals she had eight runners, and seven of them won. Move Again’s only winning sibling was a Group 3 winner on the flat, while their unraced half-sister Move Along (Northern Crystal) bred the Punchestown Festival winner Blood Cotil (Enrique).

A mare who is maturing nicely

I HAD occasion to speak with trainer Mark Fahey recently, as his father Tom was nominated for the Connolly’s Red Mills/The Irish Field Breeder of the Month for December. This was after Found A Fifty’s win at Leopardstown over Christmas.

In hindsight, I should have asked him for a tip, as he then sent out Old Peculiar to win twice at Dundalk, while Annalecka landed the odds at Punchestown, and they were all Mark’s runners in a five-day period this past week.

Annalecka won a mares’ maiden hurdle, run in honour of a great friend of mine, Rita Lyons. I first got to know Rita, thanks to doing pedigree research, in 1976, and we have been friends since.

The race won by Annalecka was being staged for just the sixth time, and four of the previous five winners went on to win blacktype races – Eabha Grace, Limerick Lace, Lady Breffni and Elfile. Hopefully Annalecka can keep up that great record. Her breeding suggests she can.

Annalecka has already been to Cheltenham, but not to race. She was offered for sale there last February, but found no takers at £24,000. Many will now be scratching their heads that they did not put her on the market, given subsequent events.

At the time of the sale she had produced a very taking performance to win a point-to-point at Oldtown, widening the gap to her rivals in eye-catching fashion on the climb to the line. She had shown much promise on her debut in December 2022 when a close third at Quakerstown.

Mark Fahey

Bred by Brian Moran, Annalecka moved from Colin Bowe to Mark Fahey, and in May she won her sole outing in a bumper at Tipperary in taking fashion, with three point-to-point winners in her immediate wake. She has been off the track until this week, and her victory at Punchestown was Annalecka’s first run over hurdles. She is developing nicely and could well become a blacktype mare. This would certainly be in keeping with her family’s history.

Annalecka is the second winner for her dam Joan’s Girl (Supreme Leader), and that mare won a Punchestown bumper on her debut for Francis Flood on New Year’s Eve 2004. She later won over hurdles at Tipperary before transferring to Nicky Richards for a few months, adding a second success over the smaller obstacles at Catterick. At stud Joan’s Girl has only enjoyed moderate success, with a pair of winners from six runners, but the other winner is Fire Away (Getaway), and he has won eight races, five of them when sent chasing.

Georges Girl

Joan’s Girl was one of the three winners out of Keshia (Buckskin), the best of which was Georges Girl (Montelimar). That Grade 2 Red Mills Trial Hurdle winner, beating no less a star than Hardy Eustace by a short head, had gone into the race off the back of running second to the French-trained Foreman in the Grade 1 AIG Europe Champion Hurdle, just failing by a head to catch the winner.

Sold for a record €215,000 as a National Hunt broodmare in 2005, Georges Girl’s had a son Georges Conn (Whitmore’s Conn) who was in the Grade B Troytown Chase at Navan.

Should Annalecka go on to success in a blacktype race, she would represent the third generation in succession of the family to do so. Her dam bred Georges Girl, while her grandam was responsible for Megabucks (Buckskin). Bred and trained by Jim Bolger, she won a listed hurdle race as a four-year-old at Leopardstown, while her dam, Floater (Brave Invader), later produced an Italian stakes winner, Retinospora (Salmon Leap), and he was runner-up in the Group 1 Grand Premio d’Italia.

Maughreen keeps her family in the news

WINNING any race by 11 lengths is bound to look impressive, and when it is a Punchestown bumper, you are even more likely to sit up and take notice.

The support for Maughreen in the upcoming Grade 1 Weatherbys Champion Bumper in March has been strong since she won Monday’s Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Flat Race in the hands of Patrick Mullins.

That this Minch Bloodstock-bred five-year-old daughter of Walk In The Park (Monsun) should end up with Willie Mullins is hardly surprising, as she is out of an unraced Goldmark (Lyphard) half-sister to the great Faugheen (Germany). One of racing’s most popular stars of the past decade or so, Faugheen was bred by the late Dr John Waldron who sold him as a foal to Paddy Quinlan for €4,000. Resold at three for €12,000, he won a point-to-point on his sole outing for Andy Slattery, and sold to Susannah Ricci and joined Mullins.

A single run in a bumper produced a victory, and then followed a stellar career as a hurdler. Faugheen is best known for winning the 2015 Grade 1 Champion Hurdle and back-to-back Grade 1 Christmas Hurdles in 2014 and 2015, while many believe that his best performance came in the 2016 Grade 1 Irish Champion Hurdle.

The Machine

Acquiring the nickname ‘The Machine’, Faugheen remained undefeated in his first two seasons over hurdles, and ended his second season with victories at Cheltenham in the Champion Hurdle, defeating a strong field that included two previous champions, and the Grade 1 Punchestown Champion Hurdle.

He suffered the first defeat of his career on his seasonal reappearance in the 2015-16 campaign, but bounced back with victories in the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle by seven lengths, and the Grade 1 Irish Champion Hurdle by 15 lengths, the biggest winning margin in the race’s history.

Shortly thereafter Faugheen suffered a small injury and missed the rest of the season. Further injuries kept him out for the entire 2016-17 season, and he returned to the racecourse in November 2017 with victory in the Grade 1 Morgiana Hurdle.

Pulled up at Leopardstown after Christmas, he was beaten into second place in the Grade 1 Irish Champion Hurdle, disappointed in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, but ended the season with victory in the Grade 1 Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown.

The 2018-19 season was Faugheen’s first without a win. In October 2019, Willie Mullins announced that the 11-year-old would start a novice chasing campaign. Faugheen made his debut over fences with a win in at Punchestown the following month, and followed it up on St Stephen’s Day at Limerick with victory in the Grade 1 Greenmount Park Novice Chase, a race now named in his honour.

Grade 1 success

Another win at the Dublin Racing Festival in February 2020 took Faugheen’s record to 17 wins in 25 races, including eleven Grade 1 successes. He finished third in the Grade 1 Marsh Novices’ Chase at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival, in what was his last appearance on the racecourse. His retirement was announced in May 2021 and Faugheen joined the living legends at the Irish National Stud.

Back for a moment to Maughreen’s more immediate relatives. She becomes the third winner for her dam Molly’s Mate, the others being her full-brother Blow Your Wad (Walk In The Park), a winner over hurdles and fences who just missed out on blacktype when fourth in a Grade 2 bumper, and the bumper winner Sweettowatch (Fracas). The latter mare was bought for a scarcely believable £5,000 last year, carrying her first foal, a colt foal by Logician (Frankel). Hats off to Anita Aveline who purchased her.

Buyers were napping again at the Goffs Arkle Sale when the now four-year-old Good Girl Kathleen (Getaway) was unsold at €30,000, while younger produce of Molly’s Mate are a two-year-old gelding by Soldier Of Fortune (Galileo) who sold for €16,000 to Ed Bailey Bloodstock as a foal, and a yearling colt by Walk In The Park.

Graded chase winners are Irish-bred geldings

TWO graded novice chase winners in Britain in the past week were bred in Ireland.

Colonel Harry has clearly always been held in high regard by connections, and he finally got the big race success his form suggested he was well capable of when he captured the Grade 2 Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby.

This was his third start over fences, and he followed his debut success with a runner-up finish to Le Patron in the Grade 1 Henry VIII Chase at Sandown. He looks as though two and a half miles suits him better.

He will have another go at a Grade 1 in the Scilly Isles Chase at Sandown, over two and a half miles, and victory there could well see Colonel Harry skip Cheltenham and head to Aintree instead. In any case, he is a horse worth watching. Bred by Tommy James, Colonel Harry fell on his pointing debut, but made no mistake next time out, and his six-length win resulted in a sale for £130,000 at Cheltenham the following month, Tom Malone signing the docket with Jamie Snowden.

Five starts over hurdles saw Colonel Harry win twice, run second twice, once in a Grade 2 at Kelso, and he was not disgraced when fourth in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle. The son of Glenview Stud’s Shirocco (Monsun) is one of three winners on the track for the once-raced Stateable Case (Be My Native), and she was bought by Tommy James 21 years ago for €23,000.


A dozen foals later, and Stateable Case has the Grade 2 winner Colonel Harry and the listed-placed Dorabelle (King’s Theatre) among her three racecourse winners, the multiple point-to-point winner Minella Wizard (Shirocco), and the bumper-placed Queen Of Hindsight (Doyen). Stateable Case is well connected, being a full-sister to Colonel Yeager (Be My Native), and a half-sister to the dam of Grade 1 winner Shinrock Paddy (Deploy).

Colonel Yeager was trained by Martin Lynch, and later by Ted Walsh, and provided the former with a great start to his career in that sphere. A Grade 2 hurdle winner at Punchestown, Colonel Yeager was placed at Grade 1 level in a bumper (beaten by the Gordon Elliott-ridden, Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained King’s Road, also a Grade 1 winner over hurdles), over hurdles a few times, and over fences.

One of four winners from his dam, Colonel Yeager was the best offspring of the bumper winner Daring Glen (Furry Glen), and she was one of three successful progeny for the unraced Diane’s Mirage (Grey Mirage). All three winners were by the Boardsmill Stud stallion Furry Glen (Wolver Hollow), and the others were the listed hurdle winner Glendine Girl and the blacktype-placed hurdler Diane’s Glen.

Grey Dawning

Flemensfirth (Alleged) died at the age of 31 last year, and his final crop are currently four-year-olds. His tally of blacktype winners, compiled from 22 crops and still likely to grow, currently stands at 105, and one of these is Grey Dawning.

The seven-year-old, €40,000 graduate of the Derby Sale has only raced 11 times, but his record is a commendable two wins in bumpers, three victories over hurdles including the Grade 2 Leamington Novices’ Hurdle at Warwick, and now a second success over fences in the Grade 3 Hampton Novices’ Chase, again at Warwick. Grey Dawning has also been placed three times, and the only time he was out of the first three was when he fell.

Grey Dawning was bred by Terence Leonard and the gelding, along with a full-sister Blanketontheground (Flemensfirth), are two of the four winners to date for the unraced Lady Wagtail (Milan). The crossing of Flemensfirth with a Milan (Sadler’s Wells) mare has produced one other blacktype winner, the Grade 1 Drinmore Chase hero Coney Island.

Lady Wagtail is from a strong flat family, stars of which include the Group 1-winning sprinters Cadeaux Genereux (Young Generation) and Ya Malak (Fairy King), but there are a few jumpers of note close up. Lady Wagtail’s half-brother Teaatral (Saddlers’ Hall) won the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle at Ascot, while that gelding’s own-sister Richs Mermaid (Saddlers’ Hall) also crossed successfully with Flemensfirth, producing the listed chase winner Two Taffs.