THREE bumper runners, three winners, all first time out, and three €5,000 cheques too, thanks to the Weatherbys ITBA National Hunt Fillies Bonus Scheme.
This racehorse ownership lark is a breeze for Syndicates.Racing, the group founded by Jack Cantillon and managed by John Bourke.
Perhaps most famous for their Munster and Kerry National victories with Cabaret Queen, Syndicates.Racing deal almost exclusively in fillies, especially when it comes to National Hunt racing.
Syndicates.Racing previously struck in bumpers with Grangee and Nos Na Gaoithe. They bought Grangee for €25,000, won four races with her including a Grade 2 bumper, and sold her for €120,000. Nos Na Gaoithe cost €30,000 and has won twice to-date.
Now the team has hit the target again with West End Victory, another €30,000 purchase who looked worth a fair bit more than that when she won a Thurles bumper on her debut at the end of February. All three were trained by Willie Mullins.
John Bourke explained: “The mares’ programme is so good now that it makes sense for us to focus on fillies. You can contest mares-only races, compete for bonuses and run in some €100,000 races, and then sell the mare to a breeder when her racing days are over. The residual value can be huge for National Hunt fillies, especially if they have a bit of blacktype. It’s actually rare for us to look at geldings.”
Recalling the decision to buy West End Victory at the 2021 Derby Sale, John said: “We liked her because she was a full-sister to two blacktype horses and we are big fans of her sire, Westerner. The market often underestimates him. She’s out of an Old Vic mare too, which we consider the gold standard.”
Off she was sent to Closutton and she duly won at the first time of asking. “We had 47 syndicate members there on the day, which I think is a record for us,” John said. “They ranged in age from five to 90. The racecourse was fantastic to deal with. I knew from a long way out we were going to need a lot of tickets and Kate Molony was very generous. Big thanks to her.”
West End Victory earned over €6,000 in prize money plus the €5,000 bonus, which represents a fair chunk of her purchase price. “We’d like to thank the Irish EBF for the race sponsorship and the ITBA for the bonus. It’s a testament to the scheme that we can’t get the same value at the sales now that we did just a few years ago.
“Everyone seems to be in the market for mares now – the point-to-point men, trainers and end users.”
So what next for West End Victory? “The plan is to go for a listed bumper at Fairyhouse over Easter and then on to the Grade 3 at Punchestown, but that’s just a plan. Willie does his own thing. Whatever happens, the mare should be better with age.”
Nos Na Gaoithe could also appear at Fairyhouse and Punchestown ahead of a summer campaign which will hopefully take in Galway. “We also have a nice bunch of unraced four-year-old fillies with Willie, Peter Fahey, Gavin Cromwell and Ross O’Sullivan. It’s very exciting.”
For more on syndicate opportunities, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 087 987 1732