'She's Ridiculously Exciting' – Born To Rock Has McGivern Dreaming Of Queen Mary Glory

McGivern: “I'm so proud of her and she's doing everything we expected.” | Tattersalls


Top breeze-up handler Katie McGivern has put Queen Mary favourite Born To Rock (Ire) (Soldier's Call {GB}) up there with the best horses that she has been associated with and described producing a two-year-old with leading Royal Ascot credentials as “ridiculously exciting”.

Born To Rock confirmed herself to be aptly named when romping to victory for trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam on debut at Yarmouth just 20 days after being sold by McGivern's Derryconnor Stud to Amanda Skiffington for 110,000gns at the Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-Up Sale. 

“To have a winner at Royal Ascot, that would be the pinnacle,” – Katie McGivern

McGivern doesn't do soppiness, but even she can appreciate that fillies like Born To Rock don't come around very often, and the Wexford-based operator is looking forward to what she describes as “the pinnacle” at Royal Ascot this month. 

“She jumped out of the stalls like a professional and led from start to finish,” McGivern recalled of that deadly debut. “She just seemed to quicken the whole way. She's ridiculously exciting and is a big, rangy filly who hasn't furnished at all yet. There's a lot of development left in her so she's very exciting, not only with a view towards Royal Ascot, but beyond that.”

McGivern added, “It didn't take a whole pile of work to get her ready for the sales so, I imagine that when Jane worked her, she didn't blow too hard. She would have been ready for a run after one piece of work and Jane is obviously a very clever woman and didn't waste any time. 

“She always had a lot of strength, a lot of power, and had a lot of groundwork done with us. But to do what she did on debut, she was so professional, and that's the difference between the good ones. She just went out 20 days after the sale and did the business. It didn't look like it took anything out of her.”

There can be no finer advertisement for buying out of the breeze-ups than Born To Rock. Her owner Laurence Holder, who is understood to have around 15 horses in training, has a leading Royal Ascot contender on his hands and did not have to break the bank to secure the filly either at 110,000gns.

McGivern commented, “Without sounding greedy, I actually thought she was worth more than what we got for her because I felt she was such an athlete. I was toying with the idea of bringing her to Arqana but, being by a first-season sire in Soldier's Call, I felt that she might be a bit lost over there. 

“That's why we chose to bring her to the Guineas Sale, because we felt she would stand out a little, which she did. She made one of the top prices at the Guineas Sale but she deserved to because she always had a lot of presence and quality.”

She added, “Amanda Skiffington saw it at the sales and, to be fair, of all the people who saw her at the sales, she was the most excited by her. Every time she saw her, it was clear that she loved the filly just as much as I did. I was delighted when she ended up buying her off us.”


Born To Rock has left money behind for everyone who has been associated with her in a short but enthralling career. At €17,000, she will go down as one of the bargain buys of the yearling sale season last year, and McGivern recalled what drew her to the Kildallan Farm-drafted filly who was bred by Joey and Troy Cullen.

“She was very athletic, had really good angles–loads of power–and a huge walk. She had a huge overstep and everything about her was a wow for me, except that she toed out. We helped to support it a little bit on our turnaround, in that we have a very good farrier, who reduced it a small bit, but we don't like to overcorrect either. It looked a bit better when she grew into herself but, if she didn't toe out, she was definitely a forty or fifty grand yearling.”

McGivern added, “But she was so light on her feet and so balanced that being a little toed out was never going to be an issue. If she was a heavy-shouldered, awkward type, she wouldn't have been bought. But even after the Guineas Sale, any vet who saw her, they all commented that, if all the horses in the sale could trot out as well as she did the morning after the breeze, they'd be flying. She just floats.”

McGivern sold 2017 G3 Nell Gwyn S. winner Daban (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) through Derryconnor Stud and has also been associated with Le Brivido (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}), Helvic Dream (Ire) (Power {GB}) and Mums Tipple (Ire) (Footstepsinthesand {GB}), who was bought alongside her mother, Joanna Morgan, under Portlester Stud. 

Asked if Born To Rock is up there with the best of what she has been associated with in her career to date, McGivern said, “Definitely. Helvic Dream won a Group 1, Mums Tipple won a couple of Listed races, Daban won a Group 3 and then Le Brivido, who I had with Mick and Sarah Murphy [Longways Stables], won at Royal Ascot. They were all completely different but all had strength. They all had the power and never really went through an awkward phase.

“Some horses go through phases but the good ones don't seem to do that and they all have excellent minds. A lot of people will say that good horses have quirks but, in my yard, none of the good horses had quirks. They were all super straightforward to deal with and Born To Rock was the same.” 

Born To Rock has also done her bit to fly the flag for her young sire. The Ballyhane-based Soldier's Call, himself a Royal Ascot winner when successful in the 2018 Windsor Castle, has had 11 individual winners in Europe and McGivern is backing him to be a success. 

“He looks very exciting,” she said. “I think he'd only one or two winners before Born To Rock sold and that may even have affected the price. But, by the time Goresbridge came around, he'd 11 wins [in Britain and Ireland] and at least half of those horses bolted up. He's definitely a stallion to keep an eye on.”

She added on the mood in the camp ahead of the royal meeting, “It's ridiculously exciting to be going to the Queen Mary with a chance. As a breeze-up consignor, the main aim is to produce a Royal Ascot-winning two-year-old. 

“To have a winner at Royal Ascot, that would be the pinnacle. Whether it happens this year or not, I don't know, but it means a lot to be there with a big chance. I'm so proud of her and she's doing everything we expected of her.”

Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.

Copy Article Link

Liked this article? Read more like this.

  1. Cindy Hutter to be Honored by Turf Writers
  2. Steady Start to Osarus September 
  3. No Nay Mets Continues Winning Ways In Colonial's Exacta Systems Rosie's S.
  4. Bucanero 'The Best I've Ridden' – Aguiar Sweet On Phoenix Stakes Favourite
  5. No Nay Mets Rebounds With Dominant Tyro Win At Monmouth

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.