“The dream is to produce a champion,” Farrell Set for Breeze-Up Season

Cormac Farrell will send seven juveniles to the Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale Tattersalls 


Making headlines at a sale with big-figure results is all well and good, but any breeze-up consignor with their eye on the future understands that a more significant indicator of sustainable success is how those graduates go on to perform on the racetrack.

Cormac Farrell, a trainer and a trader of both breeze-up and point-to-point horses, is a firm believer in the concept. After launching CF Bloodstock in 2023, the horseman has ambitious goals in mind for his fledgling operation's future.

“I want to produce horses that go on and become good racehorses,” Farrell said. “The dream is to produce a champion. You see these guys like Willie Browne, Con Marnane, Norman Williamson and Eddie O'Leary. I can't name them all, but they've produced Group 1 winners. You want to see your horses go on and fulfill their potential at whatever level, but if we could produce a couple of champions along the way, that would be the dream.”

Farrell's new operation could hardly have gotten off to a better start last year when CF Bloodstock co-topped the Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-Up Sale with a €55,000 Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale pinhook. The Zoffany (Ire) colt sold for 200,000gns to Richard Hughes and Ted Durcan. Now named Bracken's Laugh (Ire) and campaigned by Bernadine and Sean Mulryan, he was an auspicious debut maiden winner last September for Hughes and in his 3-year-old debut last week, claimed the Cardinal Conditions Stakes by 2 3/4 lengths.

Farrell said that he was always a believer in the colt and admitted that he had been a bit relieved when the horse got the job done in his first start last year.

“I had sort of built him up enough that if he wasn't any good, I was going to look a bit silly really because I was pretty bullish about him from the word go,” he said. “He was a big, raw horse and we did very little with him the whole way through because we were allowing him just to fill into his frame. We were rewarded with our patience because he came to hand in time to do a lovely breeze. Hopefully Richard has an unbelievable year with him and it'll be great for everybody.”

But Farrell is no rookie to consigning big-ticket horses. He previously formed half of Leamore Horses, which he ran in partnership with his ex-wife Anna Calder. Dancing City (Fr) (Feel Like Dancing {GB}) is the latest high-profile graduate from that consignment, having  just won a second Grade 1 novice hurdle at Aintree on Friday.

Since last year's breeze-ups, Farrell has been active not only in buying his next crop of pinhooks, but he also acquired a yard for his operation. Partnering up with his longtime associate, owner and breeder Douglas Taylor, Farrell took over the prolific Copper Beech Stables from trainer Michael Halford. The property located just a few minutes from the heart of the Curragh grounds has provided an optimal setup for Farrell to get the business off and running.

“I pinch myself every day with the excitement,” said Farrell. “I never thought I'd be in a place like this. Never. So for Douglas to be as supportive as he's been throughout it all and for the success we've had and everything, to be here right now is so exciting. Hopefully it's just going to keep going in the right direction. It's a lot of pressure. This place wasn't cheap and it all has to be paid for, but I think we've got an incredible bunch of horses this year.”

Farrell was represented by just over a dozen breeze-up horses last year and that number has grown to 30 for 2024. In addition to a handful of horses pointing for the racetrack, point-to-point trainees round out the roster. But Farrell said that the breeze-ups sales are where he hopes to concentrate his focus.

“I won't completely get away from the point-to-pointers because Douglas stands a couple of very nice National Hunt stallions and there is a lot of nice young stock coming through the ranks here,” he explained. “I'd be happy to train them because he's gone out and bought some fantastic mares and he's got some very good jumps stallions, but I prefer the global market of the breeze-ups. It's such a vast market and it seems to be very strong at the moment. Hopefully that relays into the breeze-up sales.”

CF Bloodstock will be sending seven juveniles through the ring at next week's Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale. Among the group, Farrell pointed out a Kameko colt (lot 121) out of stakes winner Miss Sugars (GB) (Harbour Watch {Ire}) as well as a Sioux Nation colt (lot 123) out of the Street Cry (Ire) mare Mo Chara.

“I think they're a solid bunch,” he reported. “They're all very sound. They all X-ray clean and the scopes are excellent. Until they breeze and we get that out of the way, you don't know where you're going to land. All the homework is done now and I hope they all do themselves justice.”

Farrell's pinhook shopping takes him everywhere from Goffs and Tattersalls to Arqana and Keeneland. No matter where he's buying, Farrell considers conformation to be non-negotiable for his breeze-up prospects.

Bracken's Laugh sells for 200,000gns | Tattersalls

“If I had any amount of money to spend, I'd go for a gorgeous horse that is well put together before anything else,” he explained. “Then I think in terms of the breeze-ups, you need a bit of stallion power and then the pedigree nearly comes last. The Sioux Nation that goes to Craven is huge. I just felt that as a yearling last year he screamed 'racehorse' to me. He was a very mature yearling and now he looks like a 3-year-old. Funnily enough, last year Bracken's Laugh was also a very big horse and people probably didn't think he would be ready.”

“You have to think outside the box a little bit buying breeze-up horses because if everybody wants to buy the same horse, none of us would be able to buy a horse,” he added. “There's a lot of luck involved. We buy a lot of horses and some go right and some go wrong, but I look for a horse that catches my eye, that sort of tells me that he wants to be a racehorse.”

Of course the purchasing of the horse is oftentimes the easy part. The training is where the real work begins. Farrell, who has a background in eventing, cited that this area in particular is where he hopes his business garners a positive reputation.

“The way the horses are produced and their performance at the sale and going forward beyond the sale is a reflection on how we produce them,” he explained. “We do a lot of flatwork with them and they all ride very nicely. If you get them to clock fast and they turn out that they've been drilled to clock fast, that's not good for everybody. There is no point in getting a horse to breeze and then a trainer gets them and says that the horse is so rank that he's unrideable. That would be no good for business.”

Farrell applauded the many consignors he has known over the years who have had a hand in developing the breeze-up sales' track record for producing effective athletes.

“The people producing the breeze-ups horses are doing an incredible job,” he said. “The horses are all coming out and winning within weeks of the sale. It used to be months, but it's weeks after the sale now and they're super sound. They're conditioning them to race and they're standing up to training a lot better. Their longevity is a lot better. The breeze-ups are proven to be an unbelievable source of good horses and let's hope it continues to be that way. I'm excited to be a part of it and I hope I can live up to some of the people that have come before me and do as well as they have.”

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