Michael O’Callaghan – Trainer’s View – 6th January

Winter Flat Work

The official flat season may be well over, but we decided to keep a few horses going on the all-weather at Dundalk during the winter and have been nicely rewarded with two winners since our last update in November. It was great to get Aggression back to winning ways, and also to win a maiden with Dreamy Gal — a filly whom we have always thought a lot of. Dreamy Gal did it quite impressively, stepping up to a mile for the first time and we’ll put her away now. She’s one to look forward to when the season starts again. Shane Kelly rode both winners for us, and Aggression provided him with a double on that particular night. Both he and our apprentice, Sean Davis, have been busy on the all-weather recently and Sean has been enjoying his share of success, too. We have several other talented young riders in the yard, and I hope to find more opportunities for Niamh Crehan and Tommo Sherry over the coming months. The yard is typically quiet at this time of the year. With some staff taking holidays, and a lot of horses out in the paddocks, it’s the perfect time to do things you don’t get a chance to do during the flat season.

Aggression winning under Shane Kelly at Dundalk

Sapphire Syndicate

In late November, we made a trip out to New York to launch the new Sapphire Syndicate, Sapphire Bravo, and to meet some of the Pearl River-based guys who were involved in the first Sapphire Syndicate. This syndicate consists of two cracking fillies, by Red Jazz and Swiss Spirit respectively. They will run as two-year-olds in 2017 and I like them a lot. We did a presentation in the local golf club in Pearl River and ended the evening by watching Randall Stevens’ winning his Roscommon maiden for the Sapphires last July. Overall, it was a great trip and it looks like the American Sapphire involvement will be significantly bigger in 2017. The Sapphire Bravo brochure is available by emailing info@michaelocallaghan.ie. An on-line version is available on the news page of our website www.michaelocallaghan.ie.

The 2017 syndicate consists of two cracking ­fillies, by Red Jazz and Swiss Spirit respectively. We have also just launched our 52-page 2016 Michael O’Callaghan. The review is bigger and better than last year’s inaugural review, and we’re very proud of it. It includes features on Shane Kelly, Now Or Never, and Kieren Fallon, a section on accessible ownership, winners blogs, staff­ Q&A’s, and much more. It is available now by emailing our office info@michaelocallaghan.ie. Early December saw myself and Siobhan take a break in Dubai, but it wasn’t all pleasure! We took time to visit Meydan racecourse, as Mirdif, who is owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, will be campaigned there during the Winter Carnival.

I look forward to having runners at the magnificent Meydan racecourse in Dubai

I was hugely awestruck by the facilities. Alongside airy stables and a swimming pool is a seven-furlong training track, while the main racecourse, with both grass and dirt tracks, can also be used for training. Mirdif heads to Meydan on the 29th December with work rider David Hayes, and his first race will be the Meydan Classic Trial in mid-February. I’ll be back and forth as the Carnival progresses, and am very much looking forward to having my first runner there. The New Year will see us kick on with what I believe are the best bunch of two-year-olds we have ever had. The Stakes-placed Holy Cat, De Boss Man, Mur Hiba and the aforementioned Mirdif will head up the three-year-old division, while Blue De Vega will spearhead the older division.


Michael O’Callaghan

Visit: thetote.com

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