Trainer Cormac Farrell Buys Famous Copper Beech Stables

Cormac Farrell: has bought Michael Halford's former base | Tattersalls Ireland

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There is a new name over the door at Copper Beech Stables, one of the finest training establishments in Ireland, with trainer Cormac Farrell confirming that he has taken over the yard from Michael Halford.

It was last February when Halford, who had sent out almost 500 winners from Copper Beech Stables in 16 full seasons, including Group 1 scorer Casamento (Ire), announced that he had taken the decision to combine forces with Tracey Collins under the banner of Conyngham Lodge. 

Farrell, a respected trainer in his own right but perhaps best known for trading horses at the point-to-point and breeze-up sales, bought the property alongside business partner and well-known owner Douglas Taylor shortly after that announcement. 

The new owners are already up-and-running at Copper Beech Stables after Farrell sent out two winners on the track in recent months. However, the trainer explained that he will be concentrating predominantly on trading at the point-to-point and breeze-up sales rather than running horses from the famous yard for the foreseeable future.

He said, “Douglas and I are lucky that we were able to come in and buy Copper Beech Stables. It's an incredibly exciting venture and the facilities here are second to none. We have put our own stamp on the place and upgraded some of the facilities further with a schooling strip and a Wexford sand gallop to train the point-to-point horses. It's hugely exciting for us.”

Farrell, who used to form part of Leamore Horses alongside Anna Calder, enjoyed something of a banner first year when consigning under his own name as CF Bloodstock in 2023. He topped the Tattersalls Guineas Sale when his Zoffany (Ire) colt, later named Bracken's Laugh (Ire), sold for 200,000gns to Ted Durcan and Richard Hughes on behalf of Bernadine and Sean Mulryan. 

Bracken's Laugh: sold for 200,000gns | Tattersalls

Along with Bracken's Laugh, who was a stylish winner of his maiden on debut at Newbury and wasn't beaten far in a Group 1 on his only other start, Farrell secured some notable results at the Tattersalls Craven Sale when three horses sold for a combined figure of 510,000gns. 

“We've had some good horses through our hands and topped the Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-Up Sale last year,” he said. “That was my first year operating under my own name as CF Bloodstock so that meant a lot. Bracken's Laugh was bought by Ted Durcan and Richard Hughes and he could be a very nice horse going forward for connections.”

He added, “When Anna [Calder] and I had Leamore Horses, we met Douglas and have just been very lucky together. Douglas is rowing in alongside me on this venture and has invested in Copper Beech Stables. We've had some nice Jet Aways (GB) together and, the first one we bought, Jet Plane (Ire), has gone on to win plenty of races. Jet Powered (Ire) is another and, while he has had his issues, he could be a nice horse for Nicky Henderson.”

Farrell is said to have almost 60 horses fully moved into Copper Beech Stables, with the lion's share of those being prepared for the breeze-ups and the remainder for point-to-points. There are just a handful of horses to run on the track, but that is not to say the trainer would be against adding more numbers for that sphere in time.

He explained, “It's working well and, as I said, last year was my first operating under CF Bloodstock so hopefully we can build on it in 2024. Douglas is involved in many of our horses but we have lots of other investors, too. 

“We have a mixture of point-to-point and breeze-up horses here and, while we do run a few on the track, invariably they would be horses that either missed a sale or failed to sell for whatever reason. 

“I like to trade horses, predominantly, and, while we'd be open to taking more horses to train for the track, we're always looking at those who have some upside and might be traded on at some point. You have to do that in Ireland in order to survive.”

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