PERFECT START TO 2018 FOR TATTS IRELAND
02 January 2018
Tattersalls Ireland graduates enjoyed a terrific started to
2018, winning four black-type contests at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. Not for
the first time, WHOLESTONE (IRE) conquered the fearsome hill and in taking the
Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle, registered his third Graded success. The 2016 Albert
Bartlett winner was bouncing back to form on a return to two and a half miles,
though it was his heavy ground debut and despite a blunder at the last, won by
three and a quarter lengths.
Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies for Simon Munir and Isaac
Souede, WHOLESTONE (IRE) was bred by Michael O’Donovan out of the Listed-placed
King’s Theatre (IRE) mare Last Theatre (IRE). Bred and trained by Jim Bolger,
she is a half-sister to four Stakes horses, including multiple Listed winner and
Group 2 performer Ballykett Nancy (IRE), as well as the dam of the great Bob’s
Worth (IRE). By Gortnamona Stud sire Craigsteel, he was picked up by Ian
Ferguson for a bargain €11,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland November NH Sale as a
The most valuable race on the card, the Grade 3 Betbright
Handicap Chase worth £43,000, was won by another Ian Ferguson buy in BALLYHILL.
Offered by Moanmore Stables at the November NH Sale as a yearling, Ferguson
parted with €25,000 for the horse and subsequently sent him to Colin McKeever.
He unfortunately fell on his only start for the pair at Ballingarry, but has
since won three times under rules for Nigel Twiston-Davies, S Such and CG
Another November NH graduate, ACEY MILAN (IRE), took the
closing Listed bumper by three and three quarter lengths for Anthony Honeyball.
Second on debut and an impressive winner next time out, he may now be aimed at
a Listed contest against older horses at Newbury, before returning for the
Festival. His purchaser was Bryan Murphy, the price €11,500 and the vendor
Milltown Park Stud, whose Marie O’Driscoll bred ACEY MILAN (IRE). He is one of
five winners out of the mare, herself a half-sister to Listed performer Dagwood,
and is by Grange Stud sire Milan.
First to strike on the day was the Neil Mulholland-trained
TIKKANBAR (IRE), who gained his fourth win in six starts in the Listed
Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. Sent off favourite, he made all under Noel Fehily
and was never passed by any of his seven rivals, with Ainchea (IRE) nearest at
the finish by a length and a quarter. With previous winners of the race
including Bobs Worth (IRE) and Champers On Ice (IRE), the future looks bright
for TIKKANBAR (IRE), who is owned by the trainer’s father and was bought for
just €5,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland August NH Sale.
Bred by Gerald Travers, he is by Tikkanen of Glebe House
Stud and comes from the family of champion sire Jimmy Reppin, Irish
Lincolnshire heroine Cockles And Mussels and Kerry National third General