WHAT a joy it must have been for Kevin Dillon and his family as they cheered Conflated to victory in the Grade 1 Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup. Dillon is used to success as a former, talented Cork footballer, but this victory must rank among his best sporting moments.
Sold as a foal to Brendan Bashford through Frank Motherway’s Yellowford Stud for €46,000, Conflated crowned a great weekend for Coolmore National Hunt stallion Yeats, the four-time Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup winning son of Sadler’s Wells (Northern Dancer).
When he resold as a three-year-old from Ciaran Conroy’s Glenvale Stud, Conflated exactly doubled his foal value, being knocked down to Henry de Bromhead for €92,000.
Conflated is from a family of great talent that descends from Saucy Vic (Vic Day), an unraced mare who was born exactly 60 years ago. She may have failed to breed a big race winner, but she left an indelible mark with her runners and her descendants, and much of the family’s success is due to Frank Motherway and members of his immediate family. Three of Saucy Vic’s eight winners were placed in races that earned them blacktype, and the most notable of these were the full-brothers Taravic (Tarqogan) and Troyswood.
By my reckoning, some 12 blacktype National Hunt winners can trace to Saucy Vic as their source, and a number of these were smart performers.
Kylemore Lough (Revoque) won the Grade 1 Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse, Farmer Brown (Bob Back) starred when he landed the Galway Hurdle, while Second Schedual was successful in the Grade 1 Punchestown Gold Cup and also took home the Cathcart Challenge Cup at Cheltenham.
It has been a purple patch for Yeats and other winners in recent weeks for the veteran were the Thyestes Chase winner Longhouse Poet, Cotswold Chase winner Chantry House (whose breeder Mike Conaghan is shortlisted for the Connolly’s Red Mills/The Irish Field Breeder of the Month for January), and last weekend’s Grade B Paddy Mullins Mares Hurdle winner Party Central.
The latter was bred by Frank Motherway – that man again – in partnership with Kevin Curtin, and she is now a three-time blacktype winner, having previously captured a listed bumper and hurdle race, both named after great racemares in Total Enjoyment and Voler La Vedette. Five wins and a couple of runner-up finishes in eight career starts would indicate that there is more to come from Bective Stud’s six-year-old mare.
A full-sister to dual winning hurdler Our Colossus (Yeats), Party Central is one of four winners from Itsalark (Definite Article). She looked special when she won her only start, an Aintree bumper, for owner Caren Walsh, trained by Philip Hobbs. One can only surmise what she could have achieved, but she is making a mark as a broodmare, being responsible also for the Grade 3 Ascot hurdle winner Craigneiche (Flemensfirth) who was second in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham.