May 14, 2019 at 14:26 #1437467
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Breaking News; the 2nd biggest owner in National Hunt Racing is winding down. Bad news for Gordon Elliot, Noel Meade, Joseph O’Brien & Heny DeBromhead but mostly Gordon. Next year will be Ok but after that there’s going to be a massive hole to fill for all the trianers named above. Also turns the Irish game into more of a Mullins domination, if that’s even possible..May 14, 2019 at 14:52 #1437469
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I guess as a businessman and father he had to make such a decision.
Businesswise you have to ask yourself, if the racing operation was a profitable one at all. I clearly have my doubts when you own so many horses and have so few opportunities of running them like it seems to be the case in Ireland. Many times he has two or three runners in a bumper, maiden/novice hurdle or novice chase. Then the big handicaps where they have like 10-12 runners and prize money only goes down to about sixth place. Unlike his airplanes that can’t have any days off, his horses don’t have the opportunity to be raced every day.
They still managed to win almost 16 million Euros in prize money in Ireland and a bit over 4 million pounds in GB over the past five years. But, if you look at how much you have to spent on average for a “better” NH prospect (roughly 250-300 k per horse) and how many of his horses have won that prize money in their careers, let alone in one single season, the more you understand the losses implied.
Above that, you still have Willie Mullins to contend with and he still beats you – not only in the big races, but also when it comes to prize money.
I have the impression that the O’Leary brothers are pretty shrewd businessman and after two good decades in the game, there is no big surprise, if they art winding down their operation.
Probably his kids aren’t huge NH supporters either and since there might be no one to take over the reins in 10 or 15 years’ time the decision had to be made.
It still is a very impressive operation and they clearly made NH Racing a lot more interesting and popular, especially in Ireland……May 14, 2019 at 14:56 #1437471
Red Rum 77Participant
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Would that mean less than a quarter of the field in the Grand National then. While it’s true the owners pay the bills and keep racing going the got to be room for the small guy.May 14, 2019 at 15:10 #1437474
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It will hit more the pretraining yards i suspect than the trainers. Yes Elliot + co will have to change things slightly and prepare to not have lorry loads arriving, but they’ll get by as Mullins did. New owners will arrive and take some of the horses. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more English owners again taking their horses to Elliot and co. It makes sense, better prize money.
The new fleet of pretrainers announced at the beginning of this season have been chinned somewhat. Brian Hamilton and Colin Bowe to name just two were given a number to pretrain and race at PTPs before running on the track. To not have them will be a blow + i doubt any owners will spread their horses country-wide like Giggy did.
In the end, Mullin’s won the mythical battle. They’d have been far better off keeping horses with him regardless of their disagreement fees-wise. There’s a stat going around that Elliot still hasn’t won an open G1 with a horse that wasn’t previously trained by Mullins in the past 3 years.
Hindsight is 20/20 so make the most of it!May 14, 2019 at 15:24 #1437475
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Elliot must have put his training fees up….Don't Eat The Pie and Don't Buy The S*nMay 14, 2019 at 17:43 #1437555
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While gigginstown have been great for Irish racing I’ve no time for the owners. The behaviour towards willie Mullins was shocking as was the treatment of the stable jockeys. The constant hiring and firing of jockeys was that of egomaniacs and the less said about Ryanair the better. I feel for the likes of Bryan cooper and jack Kennedy whose careers have stalled under the O’Leary’s.
It’s a big loss to Irish racing but as Willie Mullins has shown it can be a blessing as he got fresh owners in and kemboy and also Al boom photo might not have been in his yard had gigginstown stayed.
Gordon Elliots yard is too big imho do a scaling down might not be a bad thing.
The only guy who had been a constant with them is the superb Davy Russell who has shown the owners what dignity and class are. Rant over.May 14, 2019 at 18:49 #1437595
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Whether you like O’Leary or not, this is going to leave a huge gap; don’t know who will be able to fill itMay 14, 2019 at 20:19 #1437600
Red Rum 77Participant
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When working out this year’s Grand National the thing which struck me about the Gigginstown’s horses was how often they’ve been out in a single season, as much as some in their career. While that might be a slight exaggeration it’s not by much, I think they over races their horses.May 14, 2019 at 20:42 #1437643
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I think Elliott will be fine. He’s a great trainer and does well with all sorts of horses and a good range of owners with plenty of syndicates and partnerships in the mix so I don’t expect he will have any bother filling the boxes and getting a few grade 1 horses too. Cheveley Park might let him keep some good hurdlers instead of the Giggi ultra focus on staying chasers for the gold cup with the tier 2 ones kept on for Nationals and the rest binned.
Henry de Bromhead ditto- an excellent trainer, whose top 3 horses last season were all non Giggi horses.
JOB has access to all the Ballydoyle seconds, the patronage of JP and a good lot of other owners so will be fine.
Meade might find it tougher to get his hands on G1 horses but on the other hand, he was around well before Giggi were on the scene.
I hope this doesn’t result in a Ballydoyle-esque total domination of jumps racing in Ireland by Closutton but don’t think it will, because Mullins can’t control the bloodlines in the cradle to grave way that Coolmore do.May 14, 2019 at 21:51 #1437653
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As some of the BTL comment on The Guardian coverage says, the effect will be felt most immediately and most keenly in the stores and p2p market, rather than in the top echelons of the training ranks, where new owners are generally to be found. The prices for ‘winner of 1 p2p/ top staying chaser prospects’ have been stratospheric in recent years, fuelled by the presence of big money (business) interests in the market and all of them seeking the dream of that GC winner. Samcro is just one example of this trend but £3-400k guinea top lots have been the norm in the top sales for a good few years – and that for a 4yo/5yo gelding with little or no residual value. The exit of Gigginstown from the market seems to me to be the NH equivalent of when Sheikh M withdrew from the yearling flat market. If so, it will be lean(er) times ahead for many vendors and producers.May 14, 2019 at 22:23 #1437666
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The price for P2P winners seems to be a bit of a bubble. Joseph O’Brien runs a gelding, Dlauro, in a bumper tomorrow that cost £410k after winning a point- that’s more than Al Boum Photo’s prize money for winning the Gold Cup. Dlauro won easily but then missed an entire season. The horses he beat have done nothing of any real note. If he wins tomorrow he will have paid back a little over £5k of his purchase price (well actually he won’t; he’ll have paid back some of his training fees to date).
I know that nobody goes into NH racing to make money, but buying horses for this much does seem a particularly inefficient way of burning it.
Will the withdrawal of Giggi have a big effect on the midsection of the market? That’s probably the most important thing.May 15, 2019 at 11:51 #1437907
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A bit of a mis-conception here to my eyes.
Yes a fair few of the horses Gigg were buying were for big money but there is vast underbidders in there. They also buy heaps of stores for circa 60-80K.
When Samcro was being sold the Potts family were buying horses at mad prices, it’s just how it is now because the craze of Cheltenham has exploded, not because of the O’Leary brothers.
Grech & Parkin also bought at big prices, Sullivan & Brookhouse the same.
It’s not like Godolphin who literally do affect the market tenfold when they get involved in a sales ring, the prices won’t drop that much i wouldn’t think.
Horses run enough, they’re always trying & they’re happy to have 5 in a maiden hurdle to find out about them. To me, regardless of what you think of Ryanair, they’re great for the sport of racing. They also put healthy sponsorship into the game via the Ryanair, Ryanair hurdle etc etc.
They’ve stated themselves they lose a fortune, i wouldn’t think it’s the money being the issue, they have enough of it. I’d imagine it’s the case of being bored with it all and Tiger Roll being the pinnacle of what they can/could achieve.
A bad Cheltenham this year wouldn’t have helped either.
As for the ‘small guy’ getting more horses into the big races i just don’t see it. Even if a point goes for 325K instead of 400K, that won’t get the ‘small guy’ into the thick end of the game.May 15, 2019 at 13:12 #1437940
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I certainly wont miss the scattergun entry tactics of having 5 horses in big races etc and never really got a sense of passion or interest from O’Leary in the way you do from JP or Trevor Hemmings etc. I think it was a costly business enterprise that became a bit unwieldy and hard to enjoy properly and no surpise that having had so much ‘success’ he has tired of his play thing.
The reasons given for scaling back don’t really stack up to me ………I always thought that teenage kids require less input and support from their parents not more.May 15, 2019 at 16:16 #1437996
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Well, here are two things I’m expecting:
1. Irish NH Racing should become even more competitive after Gigginstown departure. Gordon Elliott was excellent before he trained the O’Leary horses and there will be no shortage of quality horses after that either. Breeders will keep breeding decent prospects and other people will buy them.
2. There will be enough morons left to pay astronomical prices, not only for maiden ppt winners, but also for ex-G1 competitors (see Don Poli and Outlander). Somehow I think that the dice had fallen over the entire operation, once Gigginstown offered both of them for sale.May 15, 2019 at 22:34 #1438089
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I’m surprised but not disappointed, as I hate their attitude to racing and I think some have been conning the industry with the PTP > Sales market due to Gigginstown’s presence.
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