AS the 1960s drew to a close, Highly Acceptable (Immortality) was successful over hurdles and retired to the Noonan’s Cregg Stud.
She hit the jackpot with the first of her dozen offspring, Glassilaun (Prince Hansel). Owned by Galway solicitor Gerry Moylan, the gelding won his bumper when trained by Peter McCreery, with a certain Ted Walsh in the saddle. He continued his racing career with Edward O’Grady, winning the Carroll Hurdle at Dundalk.
It was in defeat that Glassilaun put up two of his finest performances, finishing five lengths adrift of the Des McDonogh-trained Stranfield in the Waterford Crystal Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, and four lengths behind Chinrullah in the Sweeps Hurdle at Leopardstown. He was getting two stone from Monksfield in the latter, the Champion Hurdle winner finishing third, and other stars in the race included Anaglogs Daughter.
Glassilaun was the best of three winners on the track produced by Highly Acceptable, but she is instantly recognisable still in pedigrees, thanks to the enduring legacy created by a number of her daughters. A dozen blacktype National Hunt winners trace to Highly Acceptable, the most of recent of which is Champ Kiely.
A son of Ocovango (Monsun), Champ Kiely won for the fourth time in six outings when starting as the stable’s second string in the Grade 1 Lawlors of Naas Novice Hurdle, registered as the Slaney Novice Hurdle, on Sunday. Carrying the colours of Margaret Masterson, the seven-year-old unseated his rider on his only start in a point-to-point, but he had obviously shown enough for Willie Mullins to take him over.
Having won his bumper on his first outing from Closutton, Champ Kiely was then off the track for more than a year, and he remained unbeaten over obstacles for his first two runs in 2022, winning the Grade 3 Joe Mac Novice Hurdle at Tipperary. He started favourite for the Grade 1 Royal Bond Hurdle and was less than five lengths off the winner, Marine Nationale, and on Sunday Champ Kiely regained the winning thread.
Breeder Ian Dullea sold Champ Kiely, through Cyril O’Hara’s Ennel Bloodstock, for just €5,800 as a newly-turned yearling at the Tattersalls Ireland February Sale in 2017 to Michael Murray. He is the second winner from his dam Cregg So (Moscow Society), and she had the rather dubious honour of failing to finish on any of her four starts in point-to-points. The other winner she bred was Moscowsowhat (Definite Article), owned and trained by James Dullea to land a chase at Tramore a few years ago.
Cregg So had four foals in her first five years at stud, and two more since. The latter pair are a three-year-old son of Court Cave (Sadler’s Wells) and a yearling colt by another Boardsmill Stud stallion, Poet’s Word (Poet’s Voice).
The success for Champ Kiely, in addition to being a boost for the upcoming renewal of the Tattersalls Ireland February Sale, is also a shot in the arm for a branch of a great female line.
Cregg So’s failure to finish any of her point-to-point starts was something of a family trait, as her own dam, Bucks Cregg (Buckskin), was brought down on her debut between the flags and pulled up on her only other attempt. At stud, Bucks Cregg has a single winner from seven foals.
Under the third dam of Champ Kiley, the unraced Templenoe Forth (Menelek), there are a number of smart performers. Her only winning offspring was Woodville Star (Phardante), and she was a more than useful mare, successful in a point-to-point before going on to win three times each over hurdles and fences. Third in the Grade 1 Heineken Gold Cup at Punchestown, she was giving weight to the first two home, Noyen and Bobbyjo.
Woodville Star is the grandam of Theatre Glory (Fame And Glory), a listed hurdle winner last year at Cheltenham, while her half-sister Shannon Lough (Deep Run), is grandam of the Grade 2-winning hurdler Jessber’s Dream (Milan) and the listed bumper and chase winner Oscar Rock (Oscar). Both of the last-named winners have been placed in Grade 1 races.
As successful as the Templenoe Forth branch of this family is, there are others that have also done well. Her full-sister Hourly Rate (Menelek) won a bumper and a hurdle race, and is the dam of the Cheltenham Festival winner Time For A Run (Deep Run), and the Grade 3 hurdle winner Aunt Aggie (Be My Native). Hourly Rate’s daughters have also played their part, producing Adarma (Topanoora) and being grandam of Any Second Now (Oscar).
Arguably, the best of the branches – to date – of this family is the one established by Highly Acceptable’s daughter Hi’ Upham (Deep Run). She never won a race but was placed seven times over fences, and she bred Arthur Moore’s multiple Grade 1 winner Native Upmanship (Be My Native). His two hurdle wins included the Grade 1 Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown, while six of his 13 victories over fences were at the highest level.
Hi’ Upham is grandam also of the Grade 1 Powers Gold Cup Novice Chase winner Gilgamboa (Westerner), the listed chase winner A Glass In Thyne (Glacial Storm), and third dam of last year’s Cheltenham Festival Grade 3 chase winner, Corach Rambler (Jeremy).
Timely boost after move to a new location
OCOVANGO retired to The Beeches Stud in 2015, but this year he has a new home, at the Skelton’s Alne Park Stud in Warwickshire. His fee there has been set at £3,000.
We are well aware of the popularity of sons of the great German stallion Monsun (Konigsstuhl), and here is a horse who should be popular with British breeders, and even some in Ireland. He was a high-class racehorse when trained by André Fabre.
After recording an odds-on success in the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe in the spring of his three-year-old season, Ocovango was sent off as one of the favourites for the Group 1 Investec Derby at Epsom. He finished two-and-a-quarter lengths behind Ruler Of The World that day, though out of the frame.
He put up another good effort when finishing third to subsequent US champion Flintshire in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris several weeks later.
His first crop are now headed by Champ Kiely, while another member is Langer Dan, winner of the Grade 3 Aintree Handicap Hurdle, Grade 3 Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle at Sandown, and the Listed Wensleydale Juvenile Hurdle at Wetherby.