It was great to end the year on a high, winning the winter series championship at Dundalk for the sixth year in a row. We don’t have a policy of keeping horses in for the all-weather series but we have plenty of horses wanting nice ground and there wasn’t much of it around in the second half of the season.
Dundalk extends the season for those horses and provides an opportunity to race on a good surface for good prize money. We’d usually work horses on the surface before racing them and they seem to benefit greatly from this.
Over the last two days at Dundalk, we had a winner, three seconds, two thirds and three fourths. The horses have been running consistently well and it was great to end the year on a high. There was a €25,000 feature race on each programme and we were lucky enough to win one with Katiymann.
Looking ahead to next year, we took our time with our two year olds, some of which were a bit backward and hopefully that policy will pay dividends. We’ve plenty of horses in for this time of year with some more to return in early January.
We vaccinated most of the horses over Christmas and the horses for early in the season would be riding out already. Next season’s two-year-olds would be on an easy 10 days and will start riding out after New Year.
We have all the yearlings broken and riding and we have some promising and well-bred types among them.
The trade for horses with form has never been as strong and Irishcorrespondent, who won 2 races for us and was placed in the Irish 2,000 Guineas (now named Exultant) has done well in Hong Kong. He won at the weekend and he looks a leading contender for next year’s Derby over there. We wish his new connections all the best with him.
We decided in September not to have a first jockey and the split with Shane (Foley) wasn’t easy having worked together successfully for so long. Pat Smullen has been riding for us when available and Conor Hoban and Niall McCullagh are also with us and will come in for plenty of rides.
Riyazan and Rehana have arrived safely in Dubai. Dubai has been very lucky for us over the years and once again we look forward to taking on horses from around the world in what is a very competitive Carnival. It helps to shorten the winter for everyone at home as we all follow it with great interest.
I hope you had an enjoyable Christmas and finally, I’d like to wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year.