CYRIL O’Hara’s Ennel Bloodstock sold the Grade 1 winner Champ Kiely on behalf of the gelding’s breeder, but the Mullingar man has also enjoyed quite a few successes of his own in recent seasons, notably with the Grade 1 winner Monkfish.
This week, at Fairyhouse, he will offer a newly-turned yearling by Crystal Ocean (Sea The Stars), and this colt has Grade 1 written all over him. Only two generations of the family will fit on the catalogue page, and it contains three Grade 1 winners, one of these being his half-brother Captain Cutter (Westerner). What a good young horse he was, and what a loss for his owner JP McManus and trainer Nicky Henderson.
Bred by Salome Brennan, Captain Cutter was the first named foal out of the unraced Hollygrove Samba, a daughter of Accordion (Sadler’s Wells). Sold as a foal to Aiden Murphy for €34,000, he won a listed bumper at Ascot on his debut in the colours of Sue Magnier, with Barry Geraghty in the saddle. He next appeared in JP’s colours and suffered two defeats, though placed, in bumpers at Ascot and at the 2013 Punchestown Festival.
It was quite a different story when he was sent hurdling, and in the space of less than eight weeks he reeled off three wins under AP McCoy, culminating with his victory in the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury. Next up was the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, and sadly this was to be the last time we saw the progressive gelding. He was pulled up, dismounted, and Tony McCoy reported that the gelding lost his action.
Captain Cutter is the first of three winners and a placed horse from six runners for Hollygrove Samba. One of the other winners is Gowel Road (Flemensfirth), three-times successful over hurdles and a winner last year over fences. He cost Aiden Murphy €62,000 as a foal.
Yet to run for the mare is a four-year-old Soldier Of Fortune (Galileo) gelding who cost trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies £70,000 at last year’s Goffs UK Spring Store Sale.
Hollygrove Samba is a half-sister to Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle winner Mister Morose (King’s Ride), the Arkle Chase at Cheltenham runner-up Southolt (Deep Run), and the dam of Albertas Run (Accordion), three times a Grade 1 winner at Cheltenham and also successful in the Grade 1 Melling Chase at Aintree.