Croker Cup

ACCOMPANIED by the same wooden tackbox, made locally when the the four-year-old King of Diamonds went to Dublin in 1966, Slyguff Stud’s Gibeon won this year’s Croker Cup.

The thoroughbred stallion class, sponsored by Horse Sport Ireland, took place on Saturday after the traditional parade was held the day before to give the half-dozen entries an opportunity to acquaint themselves with Ring 1, accompanied by Dermot Forde’s excellent commentary.

Coolin House Stud’s Centennial, Shaun Doherty’s Kopperfield and Drumhowan Stud’s trio of Lucarelli, Rosier and Sir Lando found new ringside fans too in this valuable shopwindow for traditional and thoroughbred fans.

Judged by bloodstock manager and trainer John Ferguson and Jean-Luc Dufour, from France, the pair chose the 10-year-old Gibeon as their champion.

By Cape Cross, the dark brown stallion was bred by Avington Manor Stud and the two-time racecourse winner was bought by Barbara Hatton in May, 2021. Fully approved by Horse Sport Ireland, he covered 75 mares this year.

“He’s a cracker!” Ferguson told Barbara and her mother Frances, as the popular pair received the magnificent Croker Cup.

“We’re thrilled,” said Barbara afterwards, as a stream of well-wishers arrived at the stallion boxes.

“It’s our first red rosette in Dublin since 1980, with Bawnlahan Beauty [the dam of the King of Diamonds full-brothers Kingsway Diamond and Jack of Diamonds] and a Highland Flight mare that won the Guinness show jumping championship.

“She was bought by Max Hauri, renamed Judy and was reserve for the Swiss show jumping team at the Los Angeles Olympics.”

Linda, Barbara’s sister, is Tiggy Hancock’s godmother and their cousin, Alan, who showed Gibeon on both days, proudly wore a Tiggy’s Trust yellow ribbon on his lapel.

He then had to do a flying costume change immediately afterwards, donning a green blazer as manager of the Carlow Hunt mounted games team and running to Ring 1 to supervise his team, receiving congratulations and pats on the back on his way.