City Island evokes memories of Castletown Quarry stars of the past
Ballymore winner is out of a half-sister to Morley Street and Granville Again
More than a quarter of a century since their remarkable success in the Champion Hurdle, there was another moment of delight for the Parkhill family’s Castletown Quarry Stud as it provided an impressive winner of the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle in City Island.
Three generations and counting of Parkhills have been involved in the breeding and veterinary business and it was Marshall Parkhill who produced not only the 1991 hero Morley Street out of his mare High Board, but repeated the trick two years later with his brother Granville Again.
City Island, who thwarted Champ by two lengths in a terrific finish to the opener, is by Boardsmill Stud resident Court Cave out of Morley Street and Granville Again's unraced Un Desperado half-sister Victorine.
He was bred by Marshall’s son Ken, who now heads the Trim-based operation but was tied up overseeing the mares back home.
"I’ve only been to Cheltenham once and it’s a busy enough time for us, so I had to settle with the television," he said. "It was fabulous.
"It’s been a little while now since we won with the likes of Morley Street and Granville Again so it’s lovely to freshen up the family again. He wasn’t the biggest foal but a nice sort of horse and I’m delighted for [trainer] Martin Brassil and [owner] Sean Mulryan, who haven’t over-raced him and have been very patient."
Parkhill said: "She’s 18 now, but still acting like a two-year-old. We’ve got City Island's half-sister by Milan, who we will probably keep, and an absolutely stunning Mount Nelson yearling, who we’ll probably sell."
Brassil bought City Island for just €31,000 as a three-year-old store at the 2016 Tattersalls Ireland Derby sale, and the trainer certainly agreed he had got some value for money.
"I always try to buy five or six there and I think if he’d been by Presenting, he might have been near enough 100 grand," the trainer explained. "Court Cave’s a really good stallion, he’s near enough the top point-to-point stallion in Ireland at the moment."
"We’ve been very lucky with Court Cave," he said. "Shady Operator, who we bred, didn’t run that great on Tuesday [seventh in the Close Brothers] but he’s been a good horse and nearly everything we’ve bred by him has done well - a little filly called Court Artist won three races a while back.
"And luckily he’s only based at our near-neighbour William Flood."