Ciaran O’Brien, David and Sean Reilly, Philip and Sarah O’Hara, Ciarán Murphy and Fr Oliver Devine were among the guests who enjoyed the open day at Charlestown Stud, Mullingar on Saturday.

Tailteann Cup was extra treat for visitors to Charlestown Stud

Horse-racing enthusiasts who attended an open day at Charlestown Stud on Saturday got an extra treat when Westmeath footballers John Heslin and Kieran Martin turned up – bringing with them the Tailteann Cup Westmeath won by beating Cavan in Croke Park in July.

Trainer Ciarán Murphy was delighted with the event, one of a series of open days being held at training yards around the country organised by Horse Racing Ireland.

“We had we had a great turnout,” said Ciarán after the event.

“The weather wasn’t ideal – but it wasn’t too bad either. We had well over 100 people here anyway, so we’re very happy with the turnout.”

RTÉ’s Robbie Irwin acted as master of ceremonies and provided commentary as the Charlestown team introduced the visitors to the horses and gave an insight into the world of training and horse racing.

“We paraded some of the horses and we schooled some and we jumped some – we offered a bit of variety; and then I just talked them through all the horses that were on show,” says Ciarán.

Ciarán also gave an insight into how fans of the sport can take their interest to the next level, by becoming involved in ownership, a topic that brought a lot of engagement.

Darragh Lamb, John Joe Cully and Ciaran Murphy.

Ciarán, who obtained his training licence two years ago and who has enjoyed a lot of success since then, dates the start of his involvement with horses in his childhood: “I’m at them now since I was 10 or 11. It takes a long time to get into the game and to see where you want to go with it, but the operation here is running nicely and we want to push it on now.

“It’s over two years since I took over from Dot Love.

“I’m here in Charlestown 25 years, and we’ve built it up over the years and now we want to make the most of the facilities we have here and we’ve built over the years.”

He credits Dot Love with teaching him so much of what he knows.

Dot Love, centre, with Laura Bohan and Katie Murtagh.

Ciarán was delighted on Saturday when John Heslin and Kieran came with the Tailteann Cup.

“That was great. John and Kieran have a great interest in racing and I’d be in touch with them, so they came in and brought the cup with them, which was a lovely interest there for a lot of people and it went down very well in the morning.”

As the evenings grow darker and we wave goodbye to the summer, the next big focus for the team at Charlestown is Listowel’s harvest festival in a fortnight’s time. They’ll also be working on having Enjoy D’Allen in top shape for Leopardstown at Christmas, and after that to get him back to Aintree for the 2023 Grand National in the spring.

“It just didn’t work out for him last year. It wasn’t his fault. It’s just the way the cards are dealt, but we’ll have a go again.”

Enda, Dorothy, Remy and Timmy Munnelly.
Matthew, Molly and Megan Murphy, David and Conor Reilly.
Zoe Kearney and Emily Murphy.