Bobby Zen

The Irish bloodstock community is in mourning following the death on Friday of respected breeder and pinhooker Eamon Fitzpatrick at the age of 81. 

Through his Kilminfoyle House Stud in Ballacolla, Co Laois, Fitzpatrick became renowned as an excellent judge of young stock. His many successful touches in the sales ring spanned both the Flat and National Hunt spheres, through all manner of auctions, including from the early days of the breeze-up sales. His son Michael has continued the good name of the family business and is similarly highly regarded as one of the most astute judges on the sales circuit. 

Paying tribute to his father, Michael Fitzpatrick said, “He had a good life. He grew up at the same time as Willie Browne, Ted Walsh, Gay and Tony O’Callaghan, and that cohort of people.”

The Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale has in the last week celebrated its 50th anniversary and Fitzpatrick made headlines there in the early years when topping the sale, then held in Ballsbridge, in 1979 when selling a three-year-old by Master Owen (Ire) for 15,000gns. 

“That was a big achievement,” recalled Michael. “And in 2022 he broke the world record for a store in Doncaster, which was for Best Mate’s half-brother. He turned out to be a horse called Inexorable who won two Grade 3s. At the time £185,000 for a store horse was madness but it was a huge achievement.”

Henry Beeby, Group CEO of Goffs, was on the rostrum at the old Doncaster Bloodstock Sales (DBS) for that momentous occasion. He said, “I’ve known Eamon for 40-odd years and he was a very typically old-fashioned gentleman, a true stockman, and we did a lot of business with him.

“I had the privilege of auctioning the half-brother to Best Mate and Eamon was charm personified when he could have been under a lot of pressure in that it was obviously a big deal. I was relatively young but he was very kind and supportive and easy to deal with.”

Beeby continued, “He has passed on his horsemanship skills to Michael and I am delighted to see him doing so well. 

“Eamon was one of those people who was the backbone of the industry, and he was among those Irish breeders and vendors who allowed DBS to grow, because we got huge support from people like him. He was a charming man who will be very much missed.”

Among other top National Hunt horses to have passed through Fitzpatrick’s hands are the Grade 1-winning hurdler Knight Salute (GB) and the 2016 Thyestes Chase winner My Murphy (Ire). He also pinhooked the classy sprinter Striking Ambition (GB) from his breeder Lord Huntingdon for 7,000gns as a foal before selling him on for £28,000 to Tom Goff and Giles Bravery, for whom he won three Listed races. Later trained by Roger Charlton, the son of Makbul (GB) went on to win the G2 Goldene Peitsche at Baden-Baden among his eight stakes victories across four seasons, and finished runner-up in the G1 Prix de l’Abbaye to his stable-mate Avonbridge (GB).

Michael added, “Everybody knew him. He had a good relationship with Malcolm Bastard, Robert Percival particularly, and many others. He spent 50 years of his life going to the sales, going racing and farming. When the likes of Willie Browne and a few others started going to America, he went with them and he bought a Boundary horse who topped the first day of the Craven Breeze-up Sale.”

Willie Browne said of his friend and colleague, “He was very pally with my father before me, and a great friend. He was a very intelligent man who could speak on any subject and he was full of information. I was very fond of Eamon and I will really miss him. He was a proper man.

“He was so proud of Michael. From day one Michael had the Midas touch and Eamon got great comfort from that.”

Eamon Fitzpatrick will be laid to rest at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Ballacolla at midday on Monday, July 1. He is survived by his wife Anne, sons Johnny and Michael, daughter Fiona, daughter-in-law Caroline, and grandson Jack, to whom we extend our sincere condolences. 

 

 

The post ‘A Proper Man’: Tributes Paid to Kilminfoyle House Stud’s Eamon Fitzpatrick  appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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