05 July 2018

Not many breeders can lay claim to a Royal Ascot winner and Classic hero in the space of a few weeks, but that’s exactly what Grange Stud did in June. Predominantly know for standing top national hunt stallions under the Coolmore banner, it was also a busy month for the team at the store sales, where their sires brought high prices. We spoke to Catherine Magnier to learn more.

You must be on a high after the past few weeks, from Latrobe (IRE)’s Irish Derby win to a Royal Ascot winner in Main Edition (IRE)… Did you expect either of them to do what they did?

We’re all delighted with the recent success our graduates have enjoyed, it’s great to see them both develop into such quality racehorses. It makes the work that all of us in Grange put in everyday worthwhile; we have a great team here and seeing these horses progress must mean we’re doing something right!

Grange Stud are no strangers to top-level success as breeders, with the likes of Lyric Fantasy (IRE), Araafa (IRE), Revoque (IRE), Tannery (IRE) and Sequoyah (IRE) featuring on your honour roll. How did June’s stars compare to the other prestigious winners you’ve bred?

Its hard to draw comparison between the winners of old and new, having bred an Albany and Derby winner in the same month I think I will treasure them just a little more than the rest. Hopefully we can keep the momentum up for the rest of the season.

Latrobe (IRE) has been hugely progressive this season, and his half-sister Diamond Fields (IRE) also got better with time. Would you say this is typical of the family? How would you describe Question Times’ stock?

It does seem to be the case alright, even though Question Times herself was Listed placed as a two-year-old for Peter Chapple-Hyam and Diamond Fields took a Dundalk maiden for Fozzy Stack and Ms Mary Slack as a two-year-old, also, before progressing to win the Gladness Stakes. Question Times is a strong, solid, beautifully-balanced example of her sires progeny and herself throws a strong, athletic type.

A full-sister to Latrobe (IRE) sold at last year’s Goffs Orby Sale for €380,0000 to Magnier/Mayfair/Doyle. Have you heard any news of how she’s doing?

She is in Ballydoyle and is named Pink Dogwood (IRE). She holds an entry for the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh so hopefully that’s a sign of good things to come!

What else have you got out of the mare?

We have a yearling colt by Zoffany (IRE) and she has a Galileo (IRE) filly foal at foot.

It’s been a tremendous season so far for Camelot, who you supported in his first season at stud. What other new sires are you using?

We’ve sent mares to Highland Reel (IRE), Caravaggio and Churchill (IRE); three very exciting sires for the future.

Main Edition (IRE), meanwhile, is very precocious- now the winner of all three of her starts. Did she always look like a typically sharp two-year-old?

Yes, she looked like an early type being by Zoffany (IRE), while her dam Maine Lobster ran over six furlongs and she is a half sister to two black-type horses. We sold her as a yearling through Joe Hernon’s Castletown Stud to Mark Johnston.

Despite a fantastic season on the flat, Grange Stud is, of course, synonymous with national hunt breeding, and your stallions dominated trade at both of the Irish store sales in June. You must have been particularly delighted with the Milan half-brother to Altior (IRE) creating a new record at Tattersalls Ireland last week?

We’ve been very lucky with regards to our roster’s sales results, as well as their progeny’s performance on the track, too, last season. The Milan half-brother to Altior (IRE) was a standout at the Derby Sale, bred by the Behans and re-offered as a three-year-old by John Dwan’s Ballybrennan Stud. Paddy and Rose Behan also have a yearling filly by Walk In The Park (IRE) out of Monte Solaro (IRE).

It must have been bittersweet to see the progeny of the late Fame And Glory be so popular with buyers?

We were very lucky that Coolmore decided to send Fame And Glory straight to stud as a National Hunt sire. He is a huge loss but we are lucky enough to have three other exciting sons of Montjeu (IRE) standing at Grange in Walk In The Park (IRE), Leading Light (IRE) and Pour Moi (IRE).  We thrive to stand the very best for breeders.

Have you seen any increase in the demand for national hunt fillies?

Yes, demand has increased due to the improved race schemes for fillies, which has been reflected in the sales ring. The average at the Derby Sale for fillies was just short of €40,000 and the top priced filly sold for €140,000, a daughter of Flemensfirth.

The ITBA Fillies Bonus Scheme is also a great incentive. Coolmore National Hunt are also supporting the NH filly by sponsoring mares’ races around the country, the most recent being the Grade 2 Bumper at the Leopardstown Dublin Racing Festival, which Relegate (IRE) (Flemensfirth) won. She then went onto win the Grade 1 Champion Bumper at Cheltenham for Willie Mullins . Getaway Katie Mai (IRE) (Getaway) finished second at Leopardstown and went on to land the Grade 2 Bumper at the Aintree Festival for John Queally.

Tornado Flyer (IRE) provided a perfect end to the NH season when winning the Grade 1 Champion Bumper and in turn, secured the sire title for Flemensfirth. He’s the first foal out of the mare – what else do we have to look forward to?

We have a two-year-old gelding by Fame And Glory which we will sell next year, as well as both a yearling filly and colt foal by Walk In The Park (IRE). She is back in foal to Flemensfirth. There is a lot of  “heart” in that family and we’re lucky that she seems to have passed it in onto her progeny. Peter and Ross Doyle bought Tornado Flyer (IRE) as a three-year-old at the Land Rover Sale and we are looking forward to following him next season.

More Interview Items