Condon a worthy Osborne operator
Ken Condon is a keen racing historian and
when he is not training racehorses, he may well be found perusing material
pertaining to the lore of the sport and industry in which he plies his trade.
Last year’s Irish 2000 Guineas-winning
handler, courtesy of Romanised, has been enjoying a wonderful opening half to
the flat season with six winners from 61 runners in his first year at Osborne
Condon, who had been renting Ridge Manor
Stables, purchased the venerable training establishment from Sandra Hughes. She
had sent out a number of top-class winners from the facility, including Irish
Grand National hero Thunder And Roses, and was following in the footsteps of
her legendary late father Dessie, whose lengthy list of elite success was
headed by Hardy Eustace’s two Champion Hurdles.
It has a much longer history than the
almost 40 years of Hughes involvement however, and Condon liked the fact that
there was a strong flat element to that. Osborne Lodge was originally built by
James ‘Fairy’ Dunne in 1897 and Dunne trained two Irish Derby winners from
there, while Michael Hurley added a third. In total, 18 classic winners have
been conditioned at Osborne Lodge.
Condon’s horses have been running well and
he is a man to keep on the right side of, particularly as his representatives
can go off at attractive prices.
He has three runners at Naas tomorrow.
Believe In Beauty is an interesting newcomer in the Foran Equine Irish EBF
Auction Maiden (2.10), while the Corkman saddles two of the seven contestants
in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Race. Aleef (Billy Lee) and Mistress Of Venice
(Robbie Colgan) having both gotten their heads in front already this year and
will be competitive.
It has been a fantastic festival at
Bellewstown, with the last of the four-day extravaganza taking place tomorrow. The
crowds have flocked to the Meath venue and been rewarded with some excellent
racing as well as off-course entertainment.
For a while it looked like this was going
to be where Cheltenham Champion Hurdle and Champion Chase-winning trainer Colm
Murphy would be making a return to racing, after an almost three-year absence
from the fray, but the drying weather means that Glendruid will be held in
That leaves a field of eight for the
concluding McLoughlin Oil Flat Race (7.50), with Emmet Mullins and Rose
Dudfield looking to combine with Rocket Lad and follow up on their bumper
success at Tramore for enthusiastic owners, The Fibonacci Partnership.
Gigginstown still giving
It was a shock to hear that Michael O’Leary
would be winding down his interests in racehorse ownership, for the time being
at least. Gigginstown House Stud have been fantastic supporters of racing and
the breeding industry and enjoyed spectacular success over the years.
In a reminder that it is a case of winding
down, to give trainers in particular a chance to make alternative arrangements,
rather than an immediate severing of the cord, the famed maroon jacket will be
observed on seven horses, or more specifically their riders, at Bellewstown and
Wexford today, and Bellewstown tomorrow.
And it would be no surprise to see at least
one of them led into the winner’s enclosure.