Home » Breaking News » Clareman’s Fairyhouse fairytale as €5,500 horse wins €270k prize
Lord Lariat, the 2022 BoyleSports Irish Grand National winner, was paraded from the Square to the Central Bar in Kilkee on Wednesday evening, accompanied by PJ Casey, one of the men who spotted him at the sales for €5.5k, owner Pat Blake with the trophy, jockey Paddy O’Hanlon and Dermot McLoughlin, trainer. Our picture shows Darragh Collins owner of the Central Bar welcoming the horse with a refreshing pint of Guinness. Photograph by John Kelly

Clareman’s Fairyhouse fairytale as €5,500 horse wins €270k prize

IT WAS a fairytale at Fairyhouse this week for one Clare man who watched his horse romp to victory in Ireland’s biggest race.

Owner Pat Blake has admitted he might need a few days yet to come down from the clouds after seeing his Lord Lariat take the BoyleSports Irish Grand National on Easter Monday.

The Kilkee man told the Clare Champion, “We’re a bit on the hoarse side after it. We knew there was a big day in him and he picked a good day to do it, it was brilliant, we had a great day.”

The horse was brought down from his County Meath stable this Wednesday to parade in front of a big crowd in the seaside town with those that supported him at 40-1, and bigger, most vocal in their appreciation.

Pat watched Monday’s drama unfold in the Fairyhouse parade ring accompanied by family and friends and trainer Dermot McLoughlin and there were joyous scenes as they roared the horse home ahead of his 26 rivals.

Delirious celebrations in the winner’s enclosure for trainer Dermot McLoughlin, jockey Paddy O’Hanlon and owner Pat Blake after Lord Lariat’s win in The Boylesports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.
Photograph by Caroline Norris

With a first prize of €270,000, from a prize fund of €500,000 the Boylesports Irish Grand National is the most valuable jumps race in the country, and represents an incredible return for a horse that cost just €5,500.

Prominently placed throughout by jockey Paddy O’Hanlon, the gelding repelled a battalion of pursuers carrying the colours of Ireland’s biggest multi-millionaire owners JP McManus, Michael O’Leary and Joe Donnelly among others.

“We bought him at the Tattersalls August sales for €5,500, so he was cheap,” Pat recalled.

“There was two friends of mine at the sale, PJ Casey and Stephen Byers, and I was supposed to be there myself the same day but couldn’t make it.

“I said, ‘listen lads, if there is a nice bit of a horse there you can pick up for chancey money, don’t be afraid to buy him’. And that’s the horse they picked out. It’s a fairytale, as the fella says.”

It wasn’t just the modest price tag that caught the lads’ eyes though, “They thought he was a fine looking horse and a good mover,” said Pat, keen to credit his friends for the shrewd purchase.

Pat works in construction and is largely based in the UK these days, but was brought up on a farm in Lisdeen and has been involved in horses all his life.

Days like Monday are the stuff of dreams in a game where you can go a lifetime without success, or see your hopes shattered in an instant.

Prior to Lord Lariat, Pat’s best horse was one that showed immense promise, but never got the opportunity to fulfil his potential.

“I’d a very good horse a good few years back, he won a bumper by 14 lengths inside in Limerick, but he never ran again after that. But what do you do? That’s the way it goes. He was a decent horse, but that’s the luck of the draw.”

He was quietly confident of something special at Fairyhouse however recalling a phone call with the trainer last week.

“Dermot was very sweet on the horse,” Pat said. “He rang me Thursday and the horse was after doing his last bit of work before the race and he said, ‘listen, this horse won’t be too far away’.

“As the fella says, he was a nice price, you didn’t have to go too mad to get a few pound back off him. He was 100-1 during the week!”

It represented a remarkable double for McLoughlin who also trained last year’s winner Freewheelin Dylan at an astonishing 150-1. It is safe to say anything from his stable in next year’s race will not go unnoticed.

Jockey Paddy O’Hanlon and groom Becky McIntyre flank Irish Grand National winner Lord Lariat, while owner Pat Blake hugs trainer Dermot McLoughlin in the aftermath of the race. Photograph by Patrick McCann/Racing Post

“He’s a very good trainer, he gives horses time and when he tells you the horse is in good order, you’d want to be listening to him, you know.

“We knew he was in on a handy weight but Dermot was funny, he said he’d have carried 14 stone around there today and still won. This fella now, he’s a real decent horse.”

Lord Lariat may have gone off relatively unfancied at 40-1, but there was plenty of Clare money on his back.

Not least in the Central Bar in Kilkee where friends and family of the owners were on at fancy prices and roared the horse to his famous victory.

Owner of the Central, Darragh Collins told The Champion, “Pat’s a gentleman, I’ve known him a long time and it’s some achievement for the small owner up against the likes of JP McManus.

“Pat’s a good friend of mine and we all backed the horse hard here, I won’t lie!”

They weren’t the only ones, judging by the reception connections got on the streets of Kilkee on Wednesday.

About Kevin Corbett

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