Home » Sports » Killaloe trainer celebrates first Grade 1 success
Killaloe trainer celebrates first Grade 1 success
The connections of Poetic Rhythm celebrate the big win at Newbury. Photograph by Francesca Altoft

Killaloe trainer celebrates first Grade 1 success

A KILLALOE horse trainer received a late Christmas present when Poetic Rhythm helped him to land his first Grade 1 winner.

Fergal O’Brien was thrilled when his horse crowned what has been a terrific year for him by winning the Betfred Challow Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday.

O’Brien, who used to be head lad to Nigel Twiston-Davies and now rents his old second yard, has sent out 46 winners this season, the vast majority ridden by Paddy Brennan from Ardrahan.

Having broken his seasonal-best tally back in April, along with claiming a maiden Grade 2 winner at Sandown in February, the Naunton handler celebrated another landmark achievement as the six-year-old came out on top in a thrilling renewal.

After chasing down long-time leader Mulcahys Hill, the 15/8 favourite forged on over the last in the hands of Paddy Brennan, before repelling the late fightback from the Warren Greatrex-trained runner by a short head.

It was a close-run thing at the finish, however, as Mulcahys Hill, who had stolen seven or eight lengths down the back straight, determinedly fought back near the line.

Brennan had resisted the urge to go chasing Adrian Heskin on Mulcahys Hill too early, believing the testing conditions and stiff head wind would take their toll.

Interestingly, Poetic Rhythm, who cost £30,000, was at the vet with colic a month ago before his dramatic recovery, which helped to claim about £22,500 in prize money.
It is expected that he will now compete in the Cheltenham Festival next March for the Albert Bartlett.

Fergal’s brother, Tony, said the win prompted great celebrations and family pride over the festive period.

Councillor O’Brien told The Clare Champion this victory was a great endorsement of Fergal’s hard work as a horse trainer.

“This is a great win for Fergal, who lives for horses. He is up at 5am to head down to the gallops and often doesn’t finish until 7pm.

“Winning a Grade 1 race is a nice one to get under your belt. The first one is always the sweetest,” he added.

“Fergal has high hopes for Poetic Rhythm. He will probably run the horse at the Cheltenham Festival next March in one of the novice hurdles.”

While Councillor O’Brien admits he is not a gambler, he enjoys a small flutter on Fergal’s horses and placed €50 on Poetic Rhythm, as he knew the horse and his background.
Tony recalled Fergal’s partner, Sally, brought the horse over from Ireland after it showed some real potential at a few point-to-point races at a young age.

Having developed further at O’Brien’s stables in Naunton, it won the bumper in Cheltenham in November 2016.

The 45-year-old former jockey has amassed a wealth of experience within the industry, including having previously worked for Ginger McCain, Colin Cowley, Captain T A Forster and, most notably, Nigel Twiston-Davies.

O’Brien was at Nigel’s for 18 years, 16 of which as head lad/assistant trainer, in which time he helped in preparation of one Gold Cup winner, two Grand National winners plus several

A KILLALOE horse trainer received a late Christmas present when Poetic Rhythm helped him to land his first Grade 1 winner.

Fergal O’Brien was thrilled when his horse crowned what has been a terrific year for him by winning the Betfred Challow Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday.

O’Brien, who used to be head lad to Nigel Twiston-Davies and now rents his old second yard, has sent out 46 winners this season, the vast majority ridden by Paddy Brennan from Ardrahan.

Having broken his seasonal-best tally back in April, along with claiming a maiden Grade 2 winner at Sandown in February, the Naunton handler celebrated another landmark achievement as the six-year-old came out on top in a thrilling renewal.

After chasing down long-time leader Mulcahys Hill, the 15/8 favourite forged on over the last in the hands of Paddy Brennan, before repelling the late fightback from the Warren Greatrex-trained runner by a short head.

It was a close-run thing at the finish, however, as Mulcahys Hill, who had stolen seven or eight lengths down the back straight, determinedly fought back near the line.

Brennan had resisted the urge to go chasing Adrian Heskin on Mulcahys Hill too early, believing the testing conditions and stiff head wind would take their toll.

Interestingly, Poetic Rhythm, who cost £30,000, was at the vet with colic a month ago before his dramatic recovery, which helped to claim about £22,500 in prize money.
It is expected that he will now compete in the Cheltenham Festival next March for the Albert Bartlett.

Fergal’s brother, Tony, said the win prompted great celebrations and family pride over the festive period.

Councillor O’Brien told The Clare Champion this victory was a great endorsement of Fergal’s hard work as a horse trainer.

“This is a great win for Fergal, who lives for horses. He is up at 5am to head down to the gallops and often doesn’t finish until 7pm.

“Winning a Grade 1 race is a nice one to get under your belt. The first one is always the sweetest,” he added.

“Fergal has high hopes for Poetic Rhythm. He will probably run the horse at the Cheltenham Festival next March in one of the novice hurdles.”

While Councillor O’Brien admits he is not a gambler, he enjoys a small flutter on Fergal’s horses and placed €50 on Poetic Rhythm, as he knew the horse and his background.
Tony recalled Fergal’s partner, Sally, brought the horse over from Ireland after it showed some real potential at a few point-to-point races at a young age.

Having developed further at O’Brien’s stables in Naunton, it won the bumper in Cheltenham in November 2016.

The 45-year-old former jockey has amassed a wealth of experience within the industry, including having previously worked for Ginger McCain, Colin Cowley, Captain T A Forster and, most notably, Nigel Twiston-Davies.

O’Brien was at Nigel’s for 18 years, 16 of which as head lad/assistant trainer, in which time he helped in preparation of one Gold Cup winner, two Grand National winners plus several Cheltenham Festival winners.

By Dan Danaher

winners.

By Dan Danaher

Fergal O’Brien was thrilled when his horse crowned what has been a terrific year for him by winning the Betfred Challow Hurdle at Newbury

Check Also

A whistle calls for 30 new refs

CLARE referees are getting old and their representative association in the county is very keen …