Derry ex-pats hedge bets on own racehorse

From left with the horse, Davy Moore from Derry, Kieran McDonagh, trainer,  Michelle Keogh from Derry, Shaun Keogh from Derry, John Patton from Derry, Damien O Connor, Steve Sturbridge from Kerry, Olan Healy from Cork, Stephen O'Neill from Derry and Kieran Cremins from Cork.
From left with the horse, Davy Moore from Derry, Kieran McDonagh, trainer, Michelle Keogh from Derry, Shaun Keogh from Derry, John Patton from Derry, Damien O Connor, Steve Sturbridge from Kerry, Olan Healy from Cork, Stephen O'Neill from Derry and Kieran Cremins from Cork.

A group of Derry ex-pats have pitched in together to purchase their very own pedigree racehorse ‘down under. ‘

The Derry squad, who are living in Perth, Western Australia, are among 15 Irish men who have just become owners of promising four-year-old hors, “Irish Moshe.”

Irish Moshe is full sibling of the very famous Royal Ascot Diamond Jubilee winner ‘Black Caviar,’ and local man Stephen O’Neill said they were hoping that their bay mare will also prove to be a flyer.

And the early signs are good, with ‘Irish Moshe’ already having had seven starts and finishing in second place on two occasions.

Hatmore native, Stephen, has bought a stake in the horse alongside fellow Derry men Davy Moore, Gary Helferty, Seamus Quigley, Sean Keogh and John Patton.

Stephen has lived in Perth for 14 years and as well as his main job working for a mining firm, he is also involved in the thoroughbred horse breeding industry there.

He revealed how the men came to own the horse as he returned home to Derry with sister and fellow Perth resident, Christina and her family to visit their parents Vinny and Catherine.

The 37-years-old told the Journal: “A friend of mine, Kieran McDonagh, from Monaghan, bought the horse in an online auction. I said to him, I’m interested in taking a share on it. I was going to develop a syndicate of all Irish people who would take shares, but instead of me registering the syndicate, I got all my mates to buy into it.

“Irish Moshe was the name it already had and we only completed the deal before I came home there. We signed the paperwork.

“Kieran will train the horse and the horse will be under his care and management. We have shared from the minimum 2.5 per cent to 10 per cent each and whatever is not sold the trainer, Kieran and his partner Jacki e, will keep the rest.

“We’re happy with what the trainer has said. He told me he has been very impressed with her progress and he is saying we should definitely get something out of it. Kieran is very experienced with horses and we are just hoping he can try do different things to help that progression. He currently trains between five and ten horses.

“He and his partner do all the training and exercises, which some of the bigger stables can’t do.”

Stephen said for him the love of horses developed back in Derry, but adds that everything racehorse related, he actually learned in Australia.

“It’s a big industry here, the second biggest employer in Australia,” he noted.

“The owner of the mining company I work for owns the stud and I first started to work there as well.”

On his return to Australia last week Stephen will now be heading east to the Gold Coast to work at a horse sale there, a journey he and the other men will be hoping to make time and time again over the coming years if their own horse’s early potential is fulfilled.

“We’re hoping the horse will be racing in Perth and if she starts winning races she will have to go over east if her ratings get too high because of the system. If she becomes a superstar, then we’ll have to get her own passport!”