Bobby Zen

Prominent breeze-up consignor and pre-trainer Ian McCarthy says that having a genuine Derby horse through his hands will be very hard to top and explained how he will be rooting for graduate Ambiente Friendly (Ire) (Gleneagles {Ire}) in Sunday’s Irish Derby at the Curragh.

McCarthy sold Ambiente Friendly on behalf of the colt’s breeders Al Shira’aa Farms for 80,000gns to bloodstock agent Freddy Tylicki at last year’s Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale. 

Tylicki’s opinion on the horse has since been vindicated 10 times over with Ambiente Friendly carrying the colours of the Gredley family to finish a gallant second to City Of Troy (Justify) in the Derby at Epsom.

The James Fanshawe-trained runner will not have his Derby conqueror to contend with when he lines out for the 1m4f feature on Sunday but he faces a staunch defence from Ballydoyle, with Aidan O’Brien’s four-pronged attack headed by Epsom third Los Angeles (Ire) (Camelot {GB}). Nevertheless, McCarthy is backing Ambiente Friendly to confirm superiority.

He said, “I think he has a great chance on Sunday and I think the Curragh will really suit him. I breezed him, along with a horse called Slurricane (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) on behalf of Al Shira’aa, who have been huge supporters of mine for a number of years now. I do all of the pre-training and breaking for Al Shira’aa and it’s brilliant to be associated with such high-quality horses. “Slurricane has already won and is a very nice horse in the making and we all know what Ambiente Friendly has done-hopefully there is even more to come on Sunday.”

McCarthy added, “Ambiente Friendly is very exciting. He didn’t do anything flashy in his breeze, but at the same time, he put in a good, solid gallop and showed himself to be a very nice horse. “He’s a great example of what you can get at the breeze-up sales and proves that it’s not all about precocity and speed. I suppose Native Trail (GB) showed that you can buy a Classic horse from the breeze-ups and now Ambiente Friendly is the latest to remind people of the quality on offer. I can remember Freddy looked at him three or four times at the sales. He took a major liking to him. He also trusted me and my opinion of the horse so I am just delighted that he has worked out because it’s nice to be able to build relationships in this game.”

The relationship between McCarthy and Al Shira’aa Farms, which is headed by Kieran Lalor, has gone from strength to strength. The Al Shira’aa modus operandi is to try and sell the colts when they can with the powerful owner-breeder operation obviously being concentrated on racing fillies that can one day join the broodmare band. 

Group 1 winner Jannah Rose (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) and more recently French 1,000 Guineas third Vespertilio (Fr) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}) are high profile success stories. Both fillies learned the ropes with McCarthy, who reports the operation to be garnering huge pleasure from what Ambiente Friendly has been doing on the racecourse. 

He said, “It’s brilliant that Al Shira’aa still has the dam, Roxity (Ire) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}), at Meadow Court Stud. She is only 11 years old and I understand she has a Blue Point (Ire) colt in training with Joseph O’Brien and has some lovely progeny coming through.”

Recalling his first impressions of the Irish Derby favourite, he added, “He was always going to progress with time. He was well put together-a nice and correct horse. Mentally, he is very straightforward and physically he was always going to improve. We took it nice and gentle with him and we weren’t overly hard on him in his prep for the breeze-ups. He was very straightforward.”

It wasn’t always about nurturing the talents of top-class Flat performers for McCarthy.  A former National Hunt jockey who cut his teeth with the late great Dessie Hughes, McCarthy is perhaps best known for his association with talented dual-purpose mare Jennies Jewel (Ire) (Flemensfirth), who was trained by Jarlath Fahey. 

The Galway native has not forgotten his roots, and still keeps a small but select number of point-to-pointers to be traded each season, but growing the breeze-up and pre-training arm of his impressive Grangecoor Farm facility in Kildare has always been the aim. 

The classy Hierarchy (Ire) (Mehmas {Ire}) was the first big name breezer that McCarthy was associated with while Queen Mary Stakes winner Quick Suzy (iRE) (Profitable {Ire}) illustrated his abilities as a pre-trainer when landing the Queen Mary Stakes for Gavin Cromwell. 

However, there is a feeling that the best may yet be to come and victory for Ambiente Friendly in Sunday’s Irish Derby would doubtless mean a great deal. 

He explained, “Dessie had a massive influence on my career, without a doubt. All of the store horses that Dessie used to buy, they were all broken at home, so that was a great education. “But even from a very early age, I used to keep a few horses of my own. I would have rented stables on the Curragh from day dot and always had it in the back of my head that I would go down this route. I did a lot of work for outside people and learned as I went along.”

McCarthy added, “I get great satisfaction out of dealing with young horses and seeing them progressing through the ranks. I don’t think it can get any better than having a Derby horse through your hands-I’m very lucky. I just love dealing with young horses. It gives you huge satisfaction. When you provide a horse with a good education and a solid foundation, and then it goes on to do something, sure there’s no better feeling.”

The post Ian McCarthy: “I Don’t Think It Can Get Better Than Having A Derby Horse Through Your Hands – I’m Very Lucky” appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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