O’Connor: Owners need to see the bigger picture

Not only would Cian O’Connor say the sale of this country’s best horses is not necessarily a bad thing, he would go so far as to declare it as a “positive”.

Cian O'Connor

His thinking is counter to the prevailing opinion, in that the sale of the likes of Shane Breen’s Cos I Can and the Greg Broderick/Declan Orpen-owned world champion five-year-old Arraghbeg Clover diminishes this country in terms of competitive strength.

But O’Connor believes that view is myopic.

“I would encourage people to see the bigger picture, that Irish-produced horses jumping in high-profile competitions will encourage buyers to come here.

“The sale of Arraghbeg Clover, Darragh Kerins’s Lisona and Shane Breen’s Cos I Can were all positive moves in terms of flying the Irish flag abroad and encouraging people to come to Ireland.”

As highlighted in this column last week, O’Connor acted as an agent in the sale of Arraghbeg Clover to German Holger Hetzel, who intends to auction the mare in December.

That shouldn’t have come as a surprise; O’Connor has built up a reputation as a producer and seller of horses, even cashing in on his Olympic bronze-medallist Blue Loyd. Understandable then, some would say, that he would promulgate the view that selling is the way to go. This makes it easy to knock his opinion, except there is a logic in his thinking that making money for reinvestment is beneficial.

“These sales will filter down through the industry and everybody will benefit. I think this will improve breeding in Ireland, in that breeders will see what is required and also they will invest in a better quality mare.

“A recent show in Cavan was a hive of activity, with up to 50 horses being tried by both Irish and foreign buyers. This is great and we should not be tabooing every time a horse is sold.

“While there will be a short-term loss in terms of horses missing a few nations cup, long-term, the whole game can benefit, and the riders who get money invariably invest it back into the industry.

“It is a case of having a long-term vision rather than being short sighted.”

- Irish eventers notched up a brace at Weston Park, England, last weekend, with Antrim eventer Harold Megahey winning the British Young Rider Championship aboard Britt Megahey’s Chuckelberry. Megahey, a team gold medallist for Ireland at the Junior European Eventing Championships in France last month, saw off 22 other combinations. The two-star pony event was won by Kildare’s Shannon Nelson and Millridge Buachaill Bui.

- Victory for Frank Curran at the Northern Indoor Championships in Derry last Sunday evening has elevated him to second place in the GAIN/Alltech Autumn Grand Prix League, but Capt Michael Kelly’s second place was good enough to put him in the driving seat.

Curran, on board New World, provided the only double clear to earn maximum points for a league total of 13.

However, Capt Kelly’s four faults with Drumiller Lough was good enough to see him match his Cavan runners-up performance, giving him 16 points.

The eight-leg league moves into its second half when it returns to Cavan next Sunday.

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