The latest Newsletter was sent out to members by email this month, but it can also be viewed online here.
Cheltenham Festival 2019
A good number of people availed of The ROA Marquee over the course of the four days of this year’s Cheltenham Festival.
The marquee always proves to be hugely popular and is a good spot to be based, with its location in the tented village not far from the parade ring and shops, and a short walk from the lawn next the racetrack and the all-important viewing stands.
As always there was a bar, hot and cold food available to purchase, tote facilities and plenty of TV screens dotted right throughout the marquee, ensuring members did not miss any of the action!
It is certainly a great way to enjoy the Festival and welcome in all the Irish winners that we were privileged to witness this year.
Joanne Coleman’s Klassical Dream kick-started the Irish-trained winners and it was a particularly poignant success, as she had the ashes of her late husband John in her handbag in the winner’s enclosure.
John’s colours will be familiar to so many on Irish racecourses, with Easy Gold his final winner at Bellewstown before his passing last summer.
Bernadine Mulryan, JP McManus, Cheveley Park and Gigginstown House Stud all enjoyed Festival successes with Irish-trained horses, including in the day one feature, with Espoir D’Allen springing a surprise to land the Champion Hurdle.
It proved to be a notable Festival for JP, as he witnessed his colours carried to success on no fewer than five occasions, whilst elsewhere Barry Maloney looks to have an exciting prospect on his hands with Minella Indo leading home a one-two-three for Irish horses in the Albert Bartlett.
All the headlines though went to Joe Donnelly, after his Al Boum Photo, who had been so unlucky in many big races last season from Limerick to Punchestown, deservedly had his big success when he provided Willie Mullins with a first Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Four days that will be remembered by all!
Aintree Grand National
If Australia has the Melbourne Cup as the race that stops a nation, the Aintree Grand National certainly has the same impact both here and across the Irish Sea, and last weekend the diminutive 15.2 hh figure of Tiger Roll became the first horse since the great Red Rum to win back-to-back nationals.
A fitting winner of the AIRO and Irish Field National Hunt Horse of the Year at our 2018 Awards, Gigginstown House Stud’s nine-year-old has gone from strength to strength this season, as he followed up his 22-length rout of the field in the Glenfarclas Cross Country at the Cheltenham Festival, to lead home a great result for Irish connections in last Saturday’s National.
Congratulations to Gigginstown House Stud’s Michael and Eddie O’Leary, Davy Russell and Gordon Elliott’s Cullentra team who deservedly received a hero’s welcome in Summerhill on Sunday.
Four of the five placed horses were trained in Ireland, and all ridden by Irish jockeys, with Magic Of Light second for Alan and Ann Potts Ltd (Paddy Kennedy / Jessica Harrington), Rathvinden in third for Ronnie Bartlett (Ruby Walsh / Willie Mullins) and the Gold Cup-second Anibale Fly returning in fifth for JP McManus (Mark Walsh / Tony Martin).
The Irish successes on Merseyside did not end there last week, as the Supreme Horse Racing Club had two days to remember when Kemboy won the Betway Bowl on Thursday, before their Cadmium posted an exhibition of jumping from the front to win the Topham a day later.
Moon Over Germany was an impressive winner for Philip Reynolds, whilst Grade 1 successes also came the way of JP McManus and Gigginstown House Stud with Champ and Felix Desjy respectively.
The months of April and May offer some of the real highlights of the racing season in both codes, with big races over jumps and on the level in the coming weeks.
The action comes thick and fast beginning with the Easter Festivals at Cork (April 20th – 22nd) and the Irish Grand National meeting at Fairyhouse (April 21st – 23rd), followed by the five days of top class national hunt racing at Punchestown (April 30th – May 3rd).
Fast forward a month and the first two of the Irish Classics takes place at the Curragh with Irish Guineas Weekend (May 24th – 26th) and we have more on the re-development of the Curragh in this newsletter.
There are a growing number of free race days at courses around the country for owners with horses in training and AIRO is pleased to have secured agreement with the Association of Irish Racecourses to have free entry to race meetings on selected dates for racehorse owners who currently have a horse in training, but do not have a runner on the day.
Free admission applies to a total of 115 race meetings in 2019 and AIRO expresses its appreciation to the racecourse throughout the country for this gesture.
Owners are simply required to present their AIR card at the usual owner’s entrance to avail of free admission on these dates. There are a total of 21 upcoming free racedays for owners up to the end of May.
AIRO will once again have hospitality facilities at Punchestown, The Curragh and Galway in 2019 and we invite you to join us on the following dates.
Punchestown Racing Festival - April 30th to May 3rd
Come and join us in the AIRO marquee located in the Reserved Enclosure, where there will be complimentary refreshments available.
Badges sent out in the post are for the marquee only and do not include entrance to the racecourse.
The Curragh Keenland Phoenix Stakes Evening – Friday August 9th
Free admission to the racecourse and complimentary refreshments. Members wishing to attend, please contact Aiden Burns at the AIRO office.
Tel: 045-878173 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Galway Races – July 29th to Aug 4th
The member’s marquee will be accessible for the opening three days of the Festival (Mon July 29th to Wed 31st). The marquee is located close to the Parade Ring, with complimentary refreshments available. AIRO badges will only provide access to the marquee and does not include entrance to the racecourse.
The association held its Annual General Meeting on Tuesday March 26th 2019. The draft minutes of the meeting, which are subject to approval at the 2020 AGM, will be published on the AIRO website.
Following the AGM, a council meeting was held and among the subjects discussed, it was decided that three sub-committees would be set up to look at the following:
Flat Racing Programme
Our 2019 magazine will have made its way through the post boxes of all members earlier this year and included over 80 pages of features and news including a look back at our 2018 AIRO Awards, Rita Shah and Joanne Lavery on the ups and downs of ownership, and an interview with the O’Ryan family.
We are already beginning to think about what might feature in our fifth annual magazine, which will be published in February 2020.
If anyone has any ideas for features, or would like to advertise in the magazine, please contact Aiden Burns at the AIRO office or Caren Walsh (Tel: 086-1708053 or Email: email@example.com).
The long awaited completion to the two-year overhaul of the Curragh Racecourse is fast approaching, with an Industry Stakeholder Familiarization day, set to take place next Tuesday afternoon, April 16th, before the re-development is unveiled to the public on May 6th, when it will host its first full race meeting.
The official opening of the Curragh will then take place on Friday evening May 24, the beginning of the newly-formed three-day Curragh Spring festival.
The €65million re-development to the Curragh will feature no less than six restaurants, four bars and improved facilities for owners.
Located on the first floor, the new Owners area will feature as part of what are being described as world class facilities, with developers promising: “Owners and trainers features a leather backed banquette seating area and rich and contemporary furniture in the seating areas. Upon entry, electronic totes make placing a bet convenient before enjoying the terrace and being immersed in the races”
Trainers Open Day
Following on from the success of the ITM Stallion Trial, racehorse trainers across the country will be opening their doors to enable racing fans and potential racehorse owners to experience a racing yard first-hand.
The inaugural Racehorse Trainer Open Morning, which will take place on Saturday May 18th, will see over 30 trainers from 12 counties open their yards to those members of the public who have registered on www.racehorseownership.ie/openmorning in advance of the day.
Amongst the trainers taking part in the open morning on May 18 are Henry De Bromhead, Tracey Collins, Gordon Elliott and Joseph O’Brien.
A full list of participating trainers can be found on www.racehorseownership.ie/openmorning.
Prize Money Boost for Auction Series
There was more good news for owners with the news that the Irish EBF and Foran Equine have launched the 2019 Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Series with two additional qualifying races, a further prize-money boost and a new €30,000 nursery handicap to take place the week after the €120,000 final.
Total prize-money for the series has jumped to €666,000, with each of the 24 qualifying races having a minimum prize-fund of €20,000 as well as the added benefit of being Plus 10 registered, whereby qualified winners will be eligible for a bonus of €12,500 giving a winning owner a potential pay-out of just under €25,000. Horses must also be by an EBF registered sire to qualify.
Now in its fifth year the Auction Series has established itself as a principle target for two-year-olds bought at auction for €72,000 or less. Last year’s final winner Cedars Of Lebanon cost €11,000 and giving her owners an eight-fold return on her purchase price from prize-money earned in the series alone.