Who Are The Best Irish Horses?
It’s no secret that Ireland has a love affair with horses unlike anywhere else in the world. While there are, of course, many countries with a strong horse-racing following, there’s something about the Emerald Isle that’s that little bit deeper than the rest. Perhaps it’s the history. There are records of horse racing taking place all the way back in 60 A.D; that’s nearly 2000 years of passion, after all.
And in that time, Ireland has produced some magnificent horses. In this blog, we’re going to take a look at some of the best Irish horses from past and present.
Let’s begin with the present. Mogul is one of the best-performing horses on the circuit at the moment, and though he may be British-bred, he’s very much Irish-trained. Trained by Aidan O’Brien, the thoroughbred seems to be going from strength to strength. A strong performance as a two-year-old was followed by an exceptional third year, during which he won several prestigious races, including the Gordon Stakes and the Grand Prix de Paris. Experts who provide horse racing tips will nearly always back him for a placed-finish when he’s on the track, especially if the jockey is R. L. Moore.
Some horses write their way into the history books because they dominated the racing world during their time on the track. Some do so because they overcome a setback to win an important race. Istabraq did both. The early part of his career was underwhelming; so underwhelming, in fact, that his handles gave up on him, and sold him on. If they knew what he was going to achieve, they wouldn’t have sold for any price. He won Cheltenham Festival’s Champion Hurdle race three times and the Irish Champion Hurdle four times. And though it’s the performance on the field that counts, it has to be said: he was a magnificent-looking horse.
Sea the Stars
You know a horse is a bona fide legend if the worst you can say about them is that they finished second once. And that was in Sea the Stars’ first race. Once he’d moved beyond that very minor disappointment, he became a winning machine. During his career, he won virtually all the notable races, including the Eclipse Stakes, 2,000 Guineas, and Epsom Derby all in a single year. His last race was in 2009 at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe — and surprise, surprise, he won.
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Arkle was the superstar horse of his day. Back in the 1960s, the steeplechaser won the Irish Grand National, King George VI Chase, two Hennessy Gold Cups, and the Cheltenham Gold Cup three years in a row. In all, he competed in 35 races, winning 27 — a phenomenal record. He captured the hearts and minds of the public too and was eventually crowned the favourite racehorse of all time. So iconic was Arkle that, if you so wish, you can see his skeleton, which is displayed in the Irish Horse Racing Museum.
If you’ve got the blood of famous horse Deep Run in your system, then you’re going to be successful. And that’s just what Dawn Run, his daughter, was. She remains the most successful mare in National Hunt Racing, and it’s unlikely that her status as the best will be under threat anytime soon. Anyone that overtakes her will need to go one better than victories at the Champions Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup — that winning combination is something that no other horse, male or female, has done before, or indeed since. Her victory at the Gold Cup is still remembered fondly by horse-racing enthusiasts.
That’s just a selection of the outstanding horses that Ireland has produced. Of course, Ireland’s passion for horse racing doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, so who knows how many history-making horses the country might produce in the years to come?