Connolly’s RED MILLS & The Irish Field Breeder of the Month Award Winners 2016-2017

July 26, 2017

June 2016

My Dream Boat – bred by Patrick Monahan

This is the horse who made money for everyone except his breeder. Sold privately for only €3500 as a weanling at Goffs when consigned by the Irish National Stud, he made profit each time he sold afterwards. Now he is the winner of more than £700,000 in his career, the highlight of which was his defeat of the subsequent Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner found at Royal Ascot last year. The son of Lord Shanakill is a credit to his breeder Patrick Monahan.

July 2016

Clondaw Warrior – bred by John and Miriam Murphy

Here is a horse who has given a great number of days out to his owners, winning, as the previous award recipient did, at Royal Ascot in 2015 and following up last year with his Galway Hurdle success. And this is a horse who started his career in point-to-points and failed to win either of them! Unsold in the ring when offered for sale as a foal, he is now a 12 time winner and has brought his owners to some famous locations.

August 2016


Ribchester – bred by Mike O’Brien and Andrew Thompson

When Andrew Thompson purchased the dam of Ribchester for 18,000gns he could have never imagined the jewel she would turn out to be. He and his partner in the mare Mike O’Brien sold her son by Iffraaj  as a foal for €78,000 before he was profitably pinhooked through the Irish National Stud. The cold won the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot this year, his third Group 1 success, and it was the start of a great week for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin. Now the winner of more than £1.9 million, Ribchester is a star, and earns his breeders the monthly award for August last year.

September 2016


The last lion – bred by Liz Stack and Barronstown Stud 

When The Last Lion won the Brocklesby Stakes last year at the start of the turf season on the flat, few might have imagined what he would land in a Group 1 race later in the year – and on his 10th start! An €82,000 yearling, the son of Choisir – who is the broodmare sire of My Dream Boat – was handled magnificently by Mark Johnston and was never out of frame in all of his runs. He is the latest success for a family that has done well for the Stacks and Nagles.

October 2016


Limato – bred by Seamus Phelan

The ultra-consistent Limato has eight wins and seven place from 17 starts in four seasons and on Saturday was 2nd again in a Group 1 when runner up in the July Cup, a race he won last year before adding the Group 1 Prix de la Foret at Chantilly on Arc weekend. He has won more than £1.1 million, having cost just £41,000 as a yearling. His most avid fan in his breeder Seamus Phelan. Limato is out of a mare who was purchased for just €3,800 and she is one of just three mares kept on Seamus’ farm in Straffan.

November 2016


Empire Of Dirt – bred by Sean Harnedy

Last year Sean Harnedy accepted a breeder of the month award and again is accepting on this year for the same horse Empire Of Dirt. Last year the gelding earned the award after winning the Leopardstown Chase and he went on to win at the Cheltenham Festival afterwards. Transferred from Colm Murphy to Gordon Elliot he won the Troytown Chase on his debut for his new handler and has now amassed six victories and nearly a quarter of a million pounds. His dam Rose Of Inchiquin carried Sean’s colour’s with distinction.

December 2016 & National Hunt Breeder Of The Year


Altior – bred by Paddy and Rose Behan

Here is another repeat winner. Paddy Behan landed a monthly prize last year after Altior slammed Min by seven lengths in the opener at the Cheltenham festival and this year he returned to the venue to win again, one of four Grade 1 wins victories he had last season. He is unbeaten in his last 11 starts and is the winner of 12 of his 14 career outings. He is, like the previous winner, from a mare who win for his breeder and this son of High Chaparral is one of the most exciting horses in training.

January 2017


Finian’s Oscar – bred by Richard & Martin O’Keeffe

Winning the Grade 1 32Red Tolworth Hurdle earned winner Finian’s Oscar his award. This was just his third ever appearance, and that included point-to-point. He followed up with a win at Exeter, missed Cheltenham, and retained his unbeaten record with victory in the Grade 1 Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree. Following his point-to-point win he was sold at the Cheltenham Sale for £250,000 to Tom Malone and Colin Tizzard. Unsold as a foal at Tattersalls Ireland, he reappeared five weeks later at Goffs and sold for €24,000. His breeders are cousins Richard and Martin O’ Keeffe.

February 2017


Sutton Place – bred by James D Leahy

Winner of five of his seven starts, Sutton Place, was most impressive when winning the Grade 2 Boyne Hurdle at Navan, a race won since 2010 by the likes of War of Attrition, Voler La Vedette and Dunguib. Trainer Gordon Elliot said: “He’s a nice horse and a big chaser in the making. The ground wasn’t ideal for him but he showed his class. Whatever he does this year will be a bonus.” Racing for JP McManus, he cost €45,000 at the Derby Sale.

March 2017


Willoughby Court – bred by John H ‘Jack’ Kidd

Victory in the Grade 1 Neptune Novice’s Hurdle earned Willoughby Court the March award for breeder Jack Kidd from near Enfield. Bought by William Flood, who stands Court Cave ar Boardsmill Stud, for €3,800, he left a small profit when sold on for €6,000. A pair of bumper wins from four starts, and three hurdle wins from four starts makes him look to be quiet the bargain and he is a horse with a very bright future.

April 2017


Fayonagh – bred by John Bowe

Here is another by a Boardsmill stallion, in this case Kalanisi. Winner of a mares’ bumper at Naas, Fayonagh was sent to Cheltenham December Sale and sild for £64,000. She added a listed bumper Fairyhouse before making it three wins in four starts in the Grade 1 Champion Bumper at Cheltenham. At Punchestown she crowned an amazing season with another Grade 1 success, a comprehensive winner of the Champion Bumper. She is out of a half-sister to Solerina who brought great joy to the Bowe family.

May 2017 & Flat Breeder of The Year

Precieuse – bred by Brendan & Anne Marie Hayes 

Knocktoran Stud near Knocklong, Co.Limerick was purchased 30 years ago by Brendan and Anne Marie Hayes and has become a nursery of the highest renown. In this special year how appropriate that their home-bred and owned Precieuse should win the Group 1 Poule d’Eassi des Pouliches, the French 1000 Guineas. Brendan has been associated now with four or five generations of Precieuse’s family, going back to the days of the Group 1 Prix Ganay winner Infra Green. Sold after her victory, we are told that Brendan and Anne Marie have even better siblings to come!