'He's Put Us On The Map' – Capital Stud Boss Puts Faith Behind Authorized

Authorized | Capital Stud


Capital Stud boss Ger O'Neill has revealed that Authorized (Ire) will stand for a similar fee to dominant National Hunt stallion Walk In The Park (Ire) and outlined his hopes that the new recruit to the County Kilkenny operation will help raise the relatively new outfit's profile amongst Irish breeders. 

O'Neill's perseverance paid off in securing the 20-year-old Derby winner and sire of Tiger Roll (Ire), one of the most famous jumps horses of the modern era, from the Jockey Club of Turkey for what he described as “a frightening” sum of money earlier this month. 

No insurance could be secured for Authorized, which added to the risks involved in stumping up the cash for the sire who once again made headlines recently when exciting youngster Readin Tommy Wrong (Ire) remained unbeaten for Willie Mullins when landing the Grade 1 Lawlor's Of Naas Novice Hurdle. 

“It's either cracked or clever, I'm not sure which one,” O'Neill joked, brushing off the magnitude of the risk involved in shuttling a 20-year-old stallion back to Ireland. “I asked a lot of industry leaders what their favourite National Hunt Stallion was before getting the deal done and, nine times out of 10, Authorized was pretty high up the list. 

“Ask anyone what their top three stallions are and you are likely to be told Blue Bresil (Fr), Walk In The Park and Authorized. If you look at the sales, he had a €109,000 average for his three-year-olds between France and Ireland in 2023. The market really wanted him here and we were delighted to go and get him.”

O'Neill added, “Like a lot of studs, we had asked about buying him 12 months ago and it was a definite no. It was probably through perseverance that we got there in the end. They put a price on him that was, to be honest, not very realistic, but we got a group of people together and started to do the figures on it. 

“I mean, it's a huge move to buy him, but I think he's going to do really well for the Irish breeders. Not only that, but he's going to be great for our stud and has put us on the map alongside the likes of Coolmore and Rathbarry for being one of the bigger National Hunt studs now. With Triple Threat (Fr) joining the National Hunt side of our roster recently, to go with Mirage Dancer (GB) and Hunting Horn (Ire), who were already here, we believe we have something for every kind of jumps breeder.”

Along with Tiger Roll and more recently Readin Tommy Wrong, Authorized has been represented by Stayers' Hurdle winner Nichols Canyon (GB), Irish Grand National winner I Am Maximus (GB), and fellow high-class jumpers Goshen (Fr) and Echoes In Rain (Fr).

His return to Ireland, 15 years after he stood at Kildangan Stud, will be a major boost for Irish breeders, according to O'Neill, who said the people in the ownership group of the stallion convinced him to plough on and get the deal done. 

“Donnchadh Doyle, Darragh McCarthy, Jerry Horan and a good few others have gotten involved,” he explained. “Jerry, to be fair to him, has been with us from the start and is a great man to have on board. He's a well-liked character in the industry and is very knowledgeable. He's been a great fella to have on our side. Greg Broderick, the Irish International Show Jumper, is also involved. There's a big group of us and it's a big leap of faith, but you can't go around worrying about what might happen if it doesn't work out.”

O'Neill added, “We bought him with no insurance. We tried everywhere to get insurance but it just wasn't possible. But look, things happen in Show Jumping every day. Horses go lame and their value plummets. That's just part and parcel of the sport. It's the same with working with stallions and, if something were to happen to Authorized, it would obviously be a huge blow but that's the risk we were willing to take. Donnchadh Doyle is one of the bravest men I know and his advice was to plough on and get him bought. We know the risk involved and, the upside of the whole thing is, if we can get a few years out of him, it could be very beneficial for the industry.

“Not only that but, after Willie and Jackie Mullins heard that we were after buying Authorized, they booked in a load of their mares to us. Some of the biggest studs in Ireland have four and five mares booked into him. A lot of people are going to breed to him and race the progeny so I don't think you're going to see huge numbers of them ending up in the sales ring. The aim is that he will cover over 100 mares but if he can cover 150, we'll do it. Blue Bresil and Walk In The Park have covered over 200 apiece in the past few years but we don't foresee Authorized reaching those numbers. We're happy that, if he can cover over 100 mares and is happy here, we'll be happy as well.”

It's not just jumps stallions that breeders can avail of at Capital Stud. Alkumait (GB), the G2 Mill Reef Stakes-winning half-brother to the 2,000 Guineas hero Chaldean (GB), had his first foals in 2023 while G3 Marble Hill S. winner Castle Star (Ire) is another recent addition to the ranks. Both horses stand for €5,000.

O'Neill said, “We're trying to add to the roster all the time. We started out with Hunting Horn. Darragh McCarthy is one of the founders of Capital Stud and he probably had more of a desire to stand stallions than I did initially. When Hunting Horn came on the radar, we took the decision to go and buy him. Things have really snowballed from there. 

“Mirage Dancer was another brilliant horse to be able to get at the time. He won his Group 1 down in Australia. He has a huge pedigree and, when we saw a video of him walking, we were all blown away by him. Then Triple Threat has gone down very well as well. There are 100 mares booked into Triple Threat already and Harold Kirk, for example, is one person who really believes in him.”

He added, “But the Flat side of the operation is really growing, too. We got an amazing update with Alkumait when Chaldean came out and won the 2,000 Guineas and, not long after that, his sister [Get Ahead (GB) (Showcasing {GB})] made 2.5m gns at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale. His foals sold very well last year. Castle Star is another good addition and the ownership group in him are going to throw everything behind him. That's another thing about our business model, we will try and support the breeders that use our stallions from the bottom to the top, and hopefully that will be mutually beneficial for the two of us going forward.”

The arrival of Authorized comes at a time when the National Hunt Sales in Britain and Ireland have been dominated by two stallions; Walk In The Park and Blue Bresil. O'Neill says he is confident that Authorized can shake up things at the upper end of the market and, in doing so, entice further footfall to the stud. 

He said, “We're going to have an open day for Authorized in February and would encourage people to come and see him. He wasn't here on time for the Irish Stallion Trail but a lot of people came to visit and see the place off the back of the announcement that he was coming.

“The other thing I would say about Authorized is, he could do his bit to attract breeders to the place. The breeder who rings up to use him, they might have another mare for Triple Threat, or even Mirage Dancer and Hunting Horn. He's helped us lift our game.”

Capital Stud has come a long way since Hunting Horn and Mirage Dancer joined the roster only four years ago. O'Neill, who is best known as an Irish International Show Jumper, has been able to fast-track its emergence as a pretty serious outfit through his exploits in that sphere but the hope is that Capital Stud can maintain its progression and rival the big boys. It is thought that the addition of Authorized will aid that process. 

“My background is in Show Jumping. I am an Irish International Show Jumper and am lucky enough to have won a few Nations Cups. I've always had an interest in breeding and rode in a few point-to-points when I was younger. From that, I rode out for Mags Mullins and really enjoyed that and have kept my eye in on the racing after I returned to the Show Jumping. I said I'd dip my toe in the breeding game and four years later we're really getting stuck in.”

O'Neill added, “We'd like to get as big as we can. We are very motivated to make Capital Stud better and are excited to see how far we can go in this industry. It's a very hard business but it's an enjoyable one and I'd love nothing more than to be standing one of the big-name Flat stallions. That's the goal. If we don't hit that goal, fine, but it won't be for a lack of trying. We're always on the lookout to find the next big stallion and the foundations are in place for us to kick on and make Capital Stud one of the major destinations for National Hunt and Flat breeders alike.”

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