THE Fastey For Fun Syndicate participated in the owner’s column back in 2021 and this time around Martin discussed the success of Minx Tiara, the success of a family member in the saddle, and the improvements in ownership treatment since the last time the syndicate participated in this column.

How did you get interested in racing?

Well to give you a bit of background, my grandfather had a Jarvey licence in Waterford. The business at the time was having a horse and cart and delivering materials all around Waterford. I think my father held one as well, but never put it into use. So there is a long relationship between my family and horses.

I come from a family of 16, but myself and my brother Pat are the only two that showed an interest in racing, so we were brought racing as children. My brother Pat became an apprentice jockey with Paddy ‘Darkie’ Prendergast, so that kept us interested over the years.

So, tell us a bit about Minx Tiara?

One of David’s [O’Brien] other owners, Billy Cuddihy, bought Minx Tiara for €1,000. She was already broken at that stage. He put her in training with David with the intention of selling her.

She was three at the time. He put her into training in November and by January, David said to me that this filly was going well. Knowing that Billy was willing to sell her, we decided to make an offer before she kept improving and got more valuable. So we had it from day one going to the point-to-point. She ran well and finished third in that point-to-point. Since then she has won more money than all the horses that were in that field combined. She turned out to be the cheapest and most successful from that race.

Looking at the race that she won last Sunday at Killarney, it was a competitive race with the likes of Shecouldbeanything and Effernock Fizz in the field. Were you confident heading down?

Personally, I wasn’t overly confident, but David [O’Brien] was very happy with her. David is a good judge and he said she had every chance. The favourite in the race was Shecouldbeanything, but we beat her by over 20 lengths when we finished second at Leopardstown in February.

Even with the weight difference, we were well in. He thought we would have a good chance. If you look back on Minx Tiara’s form, she has run some big races against nice horses without really getting there. We were happy enough that on her day she would do well.

What’s next on the agenda for Minx Tiara?

Well in April, she was covered by Hurricane Lane. She is nine now. Our intention was to get her in foal and sell her in the mare and foal sale in October. Even before she was covered she had been placed four times in blacktype races and won five races. We are hoping now by winning the listed race that she has built up her value well. You have 120 days where you can run them after they have been covered, so our intention is to finish up her racing career at the Galway Festival.

Talk to us a bit about David O’Brien, you have had horses with him for quite some time.

There were seven of us in the syndicate when it started and my brother Pat was very friendly with David at the time. We are with him 20 years now and I have to say he has done nothing but good things for us. He is very approachable.

He is happy with the size of his operation, he doesn’t want it to be any bigger. Himself and Mick Kelly work with the horses and they usually have about 12 riding out. It’s a very hands on and personable operation. He has created miracles with our horses. He is very much a fantastic horseman.

He has a good relationship with Sean Flanagan as well, It’s nice to have a jockey of his calibre to call upon.

Absolutely, not only as a jockey but as a person, Sean is top class. Even before the likes of Gavin (Cromwell) started using him, he was top class. You know that when you have Sean on board, he will deliver for you. Simple as that.

You also had another runner at Killarney on Monday in the bumper with an important family connection.

Yeah my nephew’s daughter Jessica rode Dansontothetune for us in that. Sean has been a wonderful help to her. She is loving the race riding. She started off with David and he has really improved her. She now goes down to Colin Bowe and rides for him.

She got to the level where David had brought her so far and going down to Colin’s has brought her on further. She is having a wonderful time. She will be doing her Leaving Certificate now in June, so there will be no more horse riding for a little while.

She wants to give being a jockey every opportunity to see if it will work out for her. She is also aware that she may have to go to college in case it doesn’t work out for her.

You have been involved in ownership for quite some time and I imagine since you participated in the owners’ column the last time that you have seen some changes in the overall ownership race day experience. How are you finding going to the races as an owner in terms of the overall experience? Is it generally good or is there anything that racecourses can do to improve said experience?

Absolutely, since we participated in the column three years ago, I think that the racecourses are doing very good by the owners.

I suppose when you look at a race card, you are looking at millionaires more often than you are looking at the working class people. When you go to the racecourse, we find the racecourses look after us just as well. We have been delighted with the way tracks are looking after us smaller owners as such.

I think the racecourses are doing what they can reasonably do to be fair. We need the bigger owners to be fair, they keep the show on the road, but for us smaller owners, when we get complimentary passes and good treatment, it means a lot to us.