RANDOX GRAND NATIONAL NEWS: HORSE BOUGHT FOR JUST €1,400 ON USED CAR WEBSITE LANDS WILLIAM HILL HANDICAP HURDLE
Friday 14th April
By Nick Seddon
Owner Andrew O’Brien celebrated victory in the William Hill Handicap Hurdle at Aintree on Ladies Day with Fennor Cross – then revealed the horse was bought for just €1,400 on a website used to sell second hand cars.
O’Brien stumbled across the horse as a yearling on the classified website ‘Done Deal’ five years ago and having trawled through his breeding, picked him up for the princely sum of €1,400.
That investment has proved to be a shrewd one and the horse has gone on to win seven races during his career so far – including picking up £43,000 for winning the today’s handicap.
O’Brien syndicated the horse with pals Seamus Dardis and Fergal McGuinness to form ‘The Positivity Syndicate’ and speaking after the race revealed he is hoping that the six year old can carry on improving yet.
He said: “A lot of people don’t believe this, but I bought the horse as a yearling off a classified website called Done Deal. I saw him on the site and I went and looked at him, he was a big leggy lad who needed time but I got him for €1,400.
“I was in-between just browsing and looking for a horse to buy really. I saw his page and he has winners all down the line, he was a half-brother to four winners. He was a big lad when we got him and he needed a lot of time.
“We’ve certainly had to show patience with him. He didn’t make up into a two year old so he ran his first race for us as a three year old at Galway on the Flat. He came in after it and we found out he had a slight set-back, so he was off for a long time after that.
“John (McConnell, trainer) did a fabulous job after that and we got four wins out of him coming into the new Jumps season. I would have been happy with winning a little 0-65 Flat race with him, but then he started growing into himself and getting stronger. He started to look more like a jumper, so we tried him over hurdles and he hasn’t looked back.
“We ran him at Galway in a maiden hurdle last September and he finished third coming from a long way back after nearly being taken out at the second last hurdle. He finished well over the line and straight away John McConnell rang me and said he’d win at maiden hurdle at Cheltenham in October. He said he wouldn’t be beaten and he was right!
“He loves Cheltenham and we were very disappointed not to get into a handicap at Cheltenham, as we fancied our chances in the Martin Pipe (Conditional Hurdle), but not going there allowed us to come here and we’re very happy with what he’s done today. I only tend to take things one day at a time, so we’ll think of a plan for him now we’ve won that. We’ve bagged £43,000 for winning that race so we’re very happy!
“You get lucky once with these things and that’s it. To get a horse like that you have to be very lucky. I have another horse myself, though she’s not as good as him!”