INTERVIEW: MARK FLANNERY- EGMONT STUD

INTERVIEW: MARK FLANNERY- EGMONT STUD

15 May 2017

Your Oasis Dream filly (Lot 89), related to a host of black-type horses, has benefitted from some notable updates since the catalogue was printed; what can you tell us about her?

Yes, her half-brother has won again since the catalogue was printed and most importantly, she’s qualified for French premiums. She’s a nice filly and goes very well.

 

You must have enjoyed watching Marsha (IRE)’s impressive performance during QIPCO Guineas weekend as she looks set notch another Group 1 success for Acclamation; also the sire of your filly, Lot 109.

He’s already a proven sire and continues to prove himself- he’s a stallion in flying form right now. Our Acclamation filly is quite like her sire- a lovely, attractive type with a good attitude.

Another stallion doing well at the moment is Bated Breath- he has some good figures and had a nice winner at the Curragh over the weekend (Beckford). I really like our colt by him (Lot 69); he has a great way of going.

 

Meanwhile, lot 169 is a son of Sea The Stars (IRE)- not exactly a stallion you would generally associate with breezers. What can you tell us about your colt?

I suppose that’s fair to say but we chose him as he’s a good physical. He wouldn’t be your typical breezer in that he’s not overly sharp, but he’s a very nice horse for the back-end of the year and something to look forward to next year, too.

 

What faults would you overlook and what characteristics do you insist on when selecting yearlings?

When buying to resell, your budget is limited so you have to be forgiving. However, the overall package has to be pleasing to the eye; we choose well-balanced types with a good walk. If a horse is a good physical, I’ll overlook the pedigree but wouldn’t prioritise their page over conformation.

 

Is there a certain ‘type’ of horse that you would usually aim for Goresbridge?

Not really a ‘type’, but we have definitely sent a nicer type to Goresbridge in recent years due to the results graduates have achieved on the track and how well the sale has been promoted. That’s why we have a large number selling there, plus we’ve always been lucky there.

 

You also pinhook foals to sell as yearlings, with recent graduates winning on the track including dual winner Alfredo Arcano (IRE) and the unbeaten Brian The Snail (IRE). How many foals did you buy last winter?

We bought 18 foals last winter, which is about the same as the year before. It’s early days but they look a solid bunch. There’s a very nice Sepoy- a sire who’s doing well, plus a few by new sires Alhebayeb (IRE), Gregorian (IRE) and Garswood.

 

You don’t always go for the most commercial stallions. Which sires do you see as under-rated or value for money at the moment?

We’ve had a lot of luck with Sir Percy. Requinto (IRE) had very good statistics last year and didn’t quite get the credit he deserved. Some sires can get a little lost without huge numbers.

 

Who is your first season sire pick?

Swiss Spirit has had a very good start from small numbers and we’ve had a few here by him that we’ve liked. Havana Gold is another that’s started very well.

 

Many believe that bloodstock sales are becoming increasingly trend-driven, particularly regarding stallions and the demand for precocious speed…

That’s definitely true. Before, a nice individual sold itself, but now it’s getting harder. Now you need a fashionable sire or hot page just to get your horses out of the door. The market is getting more select all the time and lacks a bit of depth.

 

The stable staff crisis is another concern for both the breeding and racing industries of late and with 12 horses consigned by you at Goresbridge alone, you must certainly be busy. Have you felt the effects of staff shortages and what do you think could be done to alleviate the problem?

We’re very luck in that there’s three of us here; myself, Paula and my wife Jess, working at home and we have a few good lads. It is tough, though, and I think the difficulty getting time off is a factor in people leaving the industry. I think if it was mandatory for everyone to get one day off a week- that would help.

 

What do you see as the most positive development in the bloodstock industry in recent years?

Firstly, I think bonus schemes have encouraged owners and helped vendors. Secondly, breeze-up sales have grown year-on-year and I think this is mostly due to what the graduates have been doing on the track. The Breeze-Up Consignors Association has done great work with their advertising but it’s the horses that are providing the material. Breeze-up graduates were placed in the English and French Guineas in the past two weeks alone- they’re defying their stereotype of producing a quick return at a low level. We had two black-type fillies last year in Belle Meade (IRE) and Flying Fairies (IRE)- the quality of horses selling at the breeze-ups is very high.

Click here to view the Goresbridge Breeze-Up Sale catalogue.

 

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