A Clonmel hotelier has said he is on 'Cloud 77' delight after Saturday's famous Grand National win.
John Nallen, 58, is the co-owner of the Minella Hotel in Clonmel.
Last month one of his former charges Minella Indo won the Gold Cup at Cheltenham. Now he has done the double after another one the horses he once owned, Minella Times won the Aintree Grand National with Tipperary jockey Rachel Blackmore on board.
Both of the horses are called after the hotel he co-owns with his sister Liz Bowen.
“We're very proud of the hotel and it's good to promote it, and we have some fun thinking of the names,” said John, who watched the Grand National at his friend John Harney’s house in Clerihan. He said he was "thrilled with the result’’.
He added: “Unbelievable. For Rachael to ride the winner, it’s just unbelievable. The McManus family, they’re after supporting me so much and for them to win the National with him, I’m on Cloud 77.
John specialises in buying what he calls 'rough diamonds’ and turning them into winning horses. He revealed that he bought Minella Times from his Westmeath breeder Cathal Ennis at the Tattersalls Ireland November Sale in 2013 for €31,000.
He says he has found the best method of making money from horses is preparing them to win at a young age from his Lavally base and selling them on.
He is ably assisted in this pursuit by head man James 'Corky' Carroll and nephew Seanie Bowen, a 14-year-old rising star of the pony racing circuit.
Speaking about his horses, John said: “The only sustainable situation is trading the horses.
"Cheltenham sales are the Mecca, and it all revolves around public auction now. There is no private market at all, people would very seldom ask to buy a horse from you at home. Sales work because the trainers are protected by the agents, and the agents are protected by the auction house."