Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud team looks forward to a shock comeback with Irish championship coach Willie Mullins, six years after a split that changed the jumping racing scene in Ireland.
O’Leary and Mullins have combined for a string of noble victories, including the Aintree 4-YO Juvenile Hurdle with Apple Jade in 2016 and the 2013 Punchestown Gold Cup with Sir Des Champs.
But the two split at the height of Gigginstown’s activism in 2016, with O’Leary citing problems with training fees as the reason behind pulling his horse off conductor Closutton’s yard.
The likes of Gordon Elliott – who coached Don Cossack, Cheltenham Gold Cup winner and National Tiger Roll double hero for O’Leary – are among those to benefit from that move, with Joseph O ‘Brien, Noel Meade and Henry de Bromhead were also cast on horseback.
Back in 2019, Gigginstown announced plans to cut back on their racing operations, with racing director Eddie O’Leary announcing that they would no longer be purchasing ponies or storing them over a period of four or extended five years.
That decision appears to have at least been kept, with Gigginstown sending a “small and select” amount of horses to Mullins yard, including the delightful Clonmel prize winner Shanbally Kid, purchased for 190,000 table at Tattersalls Cheltenham April.
O’Leary said Purebred Daily News: “All I will say is that it is a long road without turning.
“We had great days with Willie [Mullins] And we’re looking forward to partnering with him again this season.
“Shanbally Kid will be the first of them. We bought him after he had a big hit at Clonmel.”
The second Land Rover Bumper Miss Agusta was also purchased by the Gigginstown team for 235,000 euros, and headed to Gordon Elliott Stadium.
“We’ve bought a few bumper horses and have a few at the shop so this will be a small and selective approach going forward. Ms. Agusta is ours and she’s for Gordon. ” he added.