YOU could say the Weatherbys ITBA National Hunt Fillies Bonus Scheme has gone full circle with recent bumper winner Gailllimh A Run.

Her dam Gaillimh A Chroi was the very first winner of the €5,000 bonus back in 2014 when she won a Gowran Park bumper for owner-breeders Tony Harrington and Eileen O’Brien.

Trained by John Queally, Gaillimh A Chroi went on to win the listed bumper at Sandown on the eve of Cheltenham that year and she has already produced two winners.

My first question to Eileen and Tony this week was why a Waterford couple are naming their horses in a way that suggests they are Galway fans.

Eileen explained: “Gaillimh A Chroi was bred by Sean Galwey, a Kerryman who was a detective in Ashbourne, Co Meath. Sean was seriously ill when we bought the mare and we named her in his honour, so that he’d know the line was continuing. There was an Irish rugby player at that time named Mick Galwey and his nickname was ‘Gaillimh’”

Gaillimh A Chroi was a Flemensfirth mare and her first runner was a Presenting gelding named Gaillimh A Stor. He was retained by the breeders and won a point-to-point for trainer Marie Harding before being sold for £50,000 to Scottish trainer Nick Alexander. He’s a won over hurdles for new connections and is running well this season too.

Next came a Presenting filly, who Tony and Eileen retained and that’s the recent Thurles winner, Gaillimh A Run. “I think Presenting fillies make good broodmares, so I was always going to keep her,” Tony explains. She is likely to take her chance in the Grade 2 mares’ bumper at Leopardstown next weekend.

Win or lose there, she has paid her way, thanks to the €5,000 bonus she earned at Thurles. “It’s a great scheme,” says Tony. “It only costs €200 to get into it and I think it has led to a lot more fillies being put in training. The standard has gone up too, and the racing programme for fillies is much better as well.”

Gaillimh A Chroi has bred four other fillies and, as all breeders know, you can’t keep them all. Her now five-year-old daughter was sold as a store for €33,000 and, named Mag Dillane, finished third in a bumper for trainer Eric McNamara in November.

There is a four-year-old filly by Mount Nelson in pre-training, a three-year-old filly by Soldier Of Fortune and a two-year-old filly by Doyen.

The mare is due to foal to Poet’s Word this spring. On pedigree you’d have to say they are all likely to be winners, so they should do well at the sales if they are sent that way.

The sales have been good to Tony. “We have an own-sister to Battleoverdoyen, an unraced six-year-old named Battle Melody. We sold her Crystal Ocean yearling last year to Tally-Ho Stud for €45,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland February Sale.”

All stock are kept at home on the farm in the Comeragh Mountains and the mares are sent to the Lenihan family’s Greenhills Stud for foaling.

Tony and Eileen have plenty to look forward to on the track and hopefully will win another €5,000 Weatherbys ITBA NH Fillies Bonus along the way.