NOBLE Yeats was a wildcard entry for the Tattersalls February Sale in 2021, but the record shows that he was unsold at 290,000gns. There must have been times when his owner Paul Byrne and trainer Emmet Mullins wondered if retaining him had been a great idea.
At the time he was a 19-length Thurles bumper winner and placed, and he was sold with an entry for a Grade 2 bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival.
Bred by Kristene Hunter in Mallow, Co Cork, the then three-year-old son of four-time Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup winner Yeats was originally sold for €6,500 to Donie Hassett, for whom he was placed second, beaten a neck, in a point-to-point before being listed as sold for £75,000 to Edinburgh Woollen Mills for £75,000.
When he next appeared he still carried the colours of Paul Byrne, and did so up to and including when he ran second to Ahoy Senor in the Grade 2 Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby in February. He was later acquired by Robert Waley-Cohen, ran down the field at Cheltenham last month, and on Saturday netted his owner a cool £500,000 when partnered to an emotional victory in the hands of Sam Waley-Cohen.
To describe the family of the Randox Grand National winner as modest would be pretty accurate. If you go back five generations on the female side, there are now a total of four blacktype winners on the page. Woods Well (Fleetwood) won the Grade 2 Carrickmines Handicap Chase at Leopardstown and he appears in a branch of the family back in the fourth generation.
Go back one more remove and up pop a pair of very different runners, Red Admiral (Admirals Launch) who won a listed race in his native Uruguay, and his distant relation Thriller (Valksraad) who, by virtue of winning a Group 3 race in New Zealand was accorded champion two-year-old status there a quarter of a century ago.
That said, the pedigree is not devoid of winners. Noble Yeats is the third foal of his dam That’s Moyne (Flemensfirth). She was trained by Tim Doyle and added a Fairyhouse handicap hurdle win to a victory between the flags at Killaloe. Her first foal, She Mite Bite (Scorpion), was a point-to-point winner, and her second, Hudson Yard (Yeats), won a point-to-point at four and last year, at the age of seven, won over hurdles.
That’s Moyne only had two more foals, Dylan Lombardy (Dylan Thomas) who was placed at Limerick last week, and his year-younger own-brother Deputy Thomas (Dylan Thomas) who is in training with Ted Walsh.
For some time now Yeats and Fame And Glory (Montjeu) have been neck and neck challengers for the champion National Hunt title this season. Noble Yeats’ haul at the weekend may have been enough to secure a first championship for the son of Sadler’s Wells (Northern Dancer), though we do have some valuable prizes still to be competed for at Fairyhouse, Punchestown and elsewhere.
Others to have made serious contributions to the Yeats cause this season have been Flooring Porter, Chantry House, Conflated and Longhouse Poet, while previous seasons have yielded Grade 2 successes for Shattered Love, Tudor City, Augusta Kate and French winners Figuero and Capivari.
The stud fortunes – aka popularity – of Yeats have fluctuated from time to time with breeders, but anyone who has used him in recent seasons, and are doing so at a mere €5,000 this year, will have been thrilled to see another star emerge for a brilliant racehorse who won 15 times, from two to eight, and was once the Epsom Derby favourite.
It is still not too late this season to jump on the bandwagon and join many discerning, and very successful breeders, who are using the services of Yeats.