Performance Review

October 2023

We were glad to keep the ball rolling into the autumn with two more winners in the month of October, starting with a really impressive performance from Stag Night in a six-furlong handicap at Naas. He won on testing ground but I think he’s pretty much effective on any type of ground, now that we’ve resolved an issue with his feet.

He has been dealing with quarter cracks, which is a very rare thing here, though there would be more instances of it in America. Basically, it relates to the bulb of the heel and because he doesn’t set his foot down level, there’s a lot of pressure on the inside of the heel. That leads to quarter cracks. Our farrier Brendan Curley has worked tirelessly to keep him sound for racing, and he deserves great credit because most other farriers would have given up. If we can keep them away, I think he’ll have a fun season ahead next year.

14 10 23 Stag Night Naas

Stag Night gives an Impressive performance at Naas

Our other October winner was a very important one for owner-breeder Steve Fisher, as his Vassula Ryden won a maiden at Navan in good style by three and a half lengths. Steve is a great owner in the yard and last year had great success with us through Listed winner Are We Dreaming.

I think that Vassula Ryden is another lovely, tough filly for him. She’s a no-nonsense type who you wouldn’t even know is in the yard. She has a big frame to her so you’d imagine she has three-year-old written all over her for next season.

18 10 23 Vassula Ryden Navan

Vassula Ryden wins a maiden at Navan

I was delighted to see Amazon Lady earn blacktype for the first time in the Listed RFL Steels Stakes at Naas when running a big race to finish second. She’s been putting together some solid runs through the year since winning first time out at Tipperary, and hopefully she’ll keep going the right direction next season for Maurice and Madeline Burns.

Mogwli had five starts during the month and collected prize money on each of them, including when a close second at the Curragh over a mile. He’s worth his weight in gold to us at home as a lead horse and it’s great that he’s paying his way on the track too.

Cnodian is a brilliant servant for her owner-breeders Rory and Noeleen O'Toole, and she wasn’t beaten far in third at the Curragh in a big-field sprint handicap this month. She fights to her level consistently - you can’t ask much more of any horse than that.

Au Lait finished third in a six-furlong fillies’ maiden at Naas on her final start of the season and I’m hoping she’ll be better at three. I think she’s probably a bit weak so fingers crossed she’ll put on a bit of condition over the winter. She likes soft ground so we’ll take her back in training early with a view to aiming for those conditions.

I feel Zarra Ellis is another two-year-old filly who is very weak and will take some time. She ran well when third at Dundalk in a seven-furlong maiden but is very much one for next year for Redpender Stud.

Having young horses coming through the ranks is vital to the success of any yard. As the current season winds down, hopefully we will have some nice youngsters to look forward to again in 2024.