EUGENE O’Sullivan is synonymous with point-to-point racing, both as a trainer and as a producer and he first made the headlines back in 1991 when Lovely Citizen, ridden by his brother William and owned and bred by his late father Eoin, romped home in the Christies Foxhunters Chase at Cheltenham.
That surprise win was followed five years later by Another Excuse’s success in the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter, a win that really put Eugene on the map as a trainer.
It was also a memorable day for the horse’s owners, the Kilshannig Racing Syndicate, made up of locals from the Mallow area.
Set up in 1991, it was one of the longest-running syndicates in the country and it was only recently wound up when its last horse A Decent Excuse was retired.
Situated in Lombardstown, just a couple of miles from Cork racecourse, Eugene confessed: “I never set out to be a trainer – it just happened! I started off as a farmer, milking cows until the horses got too many but no decision was made to go at it full-time.
“We breed them to sell and the ones that aren’t sold, go down the point-to-point route.”
He also trains the odd one for the flat and has had eight or nine winners in that sphere, commenting: “Our experience and facilities are proven and I have plenty of success in England and Ireland to back it up.”
As O’Sullivan said: “A lot of good horses like Chris’s Dream, who might have stayed in training before the recession, were sold on but I’d love to end up keeping a horse capable of winning a Grade 1.”