“Double Whammy” for Thompson and Tinnakill Crowns Unforgettable Monday


Gleneagles: sire of Dornoch Castle| Coolmore


Most Mondays are utterly forgettable. Not in the case of Ian Thompson, manager at Tinnakill House Stud who, along with his boss Dermot Cantillon, kick-started the week in style after Dornoch Castle (Ire) (Gleneagles {Ire}), bred by the pair, confirmed himself a hugely promising colt in winning unchallenged at Ayr. 

Shortly after Dornoch Castle coasted home to win for the second time from as many outings, his trainer Mark Johnston revealed that he has some major ambitions for the 2-year-old, mainly the G2 Vintage S. at Goodwood. 

If you thought things couldn't get any better for Thompson and all of the team at Tinnakill, you thought wrong, because this Monday was about to go from memorable to unforgettable.

As if it were written in the stars, just a few hours later, Dornoch Castle's half-brother Claim The Crown (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}), who Thomson and Tinakill also bred, landed the feature handicap at Ripon. 

All of this excitement was provided by Crown Light (GB) (Zamindar), a mare that Cantillon acquired for just 800gns at the Tattersalls Autumn horses-in-training sale in 2013, and the 11-year-old hasn't missed a breeding season on the farm ever since.

Speaking after the success of Dornoch Castle, a 30,000 euros Goffs Sportsman's purchase, Thompson sensed something special could be in store, and said, “Funnily enough, his [Dornoch Castle's] half-brother Claim The Crown runs this evening so it could be a double whammy. He has been very well-backed so it could be one of those days. Let's hope so.”

It certainly was one of those days. A Monday that Thompson and the team will never forget. But the most exciting aspect of it all is that there will be even bigger days ahead, especially in the case of Dornoch Castle. 

“It's exciting,” said Thompson. “The great thing about him is that he's bred to get better. He was a fine big horse when he was younger so everything about him would suggest that this is only the beginning for him. 

“The female pedigree would be a middle-distance one and you wouldn't really imagine her to be having lots of 2-year-old winners so it makes it even more exciting.”

He added, “This is what it's all about. The buzz before the race and the excitement after he won. You can't beat it–it's what we do it for.”

This wasn't the only momentous moment for those associated with Crown Light. Less than four years after Cantillon bought the mare, her half-sister Bateel (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) won the G1 Prix Vermeille. But that's not to say that Crown Light has not been hanging onto the coattail of her half-sister. 

She has proved herself worthy of an upgrade in terms of the quality of stallion she has visited every season and a decision to support up-and-coming sire Gleneagles (Ire) is proving to be an inspired one with his son Dornoch Castle emerging as a smart prospect for the Johnston team. 

Thompson explained, “We thought Gleneagles was a good young sire and everyone was crying out for a nice son of Galileo (Ire). He was the one with the best credentials and it was a commercial decision to back a young son of Galileo who we thought was going to click. 

“She also has an Australia (GB) filly foal and is back in foal to Acclamation (GB). Dermot bought four horses at the horses-in-training sale in 2013, all for relatively small money, and she was just 800gns. She had a decent pedigree but wouldn't have been the best physical.”

He added, “Since we bought her, though, her half-sister [Bateel] won a Group 1 in France so we got the mother of all pedigree updates. Not only that, she has produced stock who look a lot better than she does and, as a result, she has been getting upgraded matings every year. Her progeny are delivering on the racetrack and she's really clicked now so it's very exciting.

“She's very fertile. She's had a foal every single year since she was a 3-year-old. That's the one thing you can't really put a price on when you are buying from the horses-in-training sale as you've no idea how fertile they will turn out to be. It's all down to luck.

“I am involved with seven or eight mares now at this stage. I own a few of them myself but am in partnerships with either Dermot or somebody else with the rest. She's the best of them by a mile.”

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