Performance Review

November 2023

Having seen her knocking on the door on several occasions during the year, I was delighted that Morning Approach managed to get her head in front this month at Dundalk - the third win of her career with us at Rathbride.

She had been running some decent races without quite winning and we actually had her entered in the sales this autumn. I encouraged the syndicate to keep her because I felt she would win again, so I’m glad she justified us keeping her with this result.

22 11 23 Morning Approach Dundalk

Morning Approach's third win of her career at Dundalk

Dream Ticket just didn’t have the ball bounce her way when showing up well to finish second on back-to-back starts at Dundalk this month. On the second occasion she was only beaten a nose in a heads-up-heads-down type of finish when Jack Kearney gave her a lovely ride. With a view to the future, I think a mile on the grass will suit her nicely.

We had two runners on the final day of the 2023 turf season at the Curragh, and I thought Stag Night was probably unfortunate not to win the five-furlong handicap when beaten only half a length in third. It was another very solid effort from him after his win at Naas a month earlier. We’ll bring him back in from his break in January and hopefully he’ll return to the track in the same sort of form in 2024. He’s a very athletic horse.

Mogwli has been busy through the year and ran another solid race on the same card when third in a 22-runner handicap under Megan Telford-Kelly. He’s a great horse to have around the yard and has given plenty of experience to the apprentices again this year.

Finally, in terms of our November runners, I thought there was a nice debut run from Concluding Call in a Dundalk maiden over an extended mile and a quarter. She finished fourth but was only beaten a length and a quarter. We’ll let her take her chance in another maiden back there next month.

As we reflect on the 2023 season, it was pleasing to keep the quality of the string on an upward trajectory in terms of blacktype winners. In total, we recorded four Group race wins - matching our best ever tally for a season. We also had seconds in a Group 1 and two Group 3s.

Those returns helped bring our prize money tally to almost €600,000 - an increase of more than €80,000 from our previous season. Our Debutante Stakes winner Vespertilio also ended the campaign as the second highest-rated two-year-old filly in Ireland after her big effort in the Moyglare Stud Stakes on Irish Champions Weekend.

A frustrating amount of seconds and placed runners counted against us in terms of our overall winner count for the season. That is reflected in the fact that 80 of our 236 runners (more than a third) finished in the first four, including 16 winners and 22 seconds.

We all know how competitive racing is in Ireland. The standard is world class and that obviously makes it tough for everyone, but this is exactly where we all want to be.

We’ll continue to compete to the best of our ability and fingers crossed we can push on again for a fruitful 2024 season.