Empire Of Dirt hoping to build on last year's Festival success
Sean Harnedy bred the 10-year-old gelding out of Rose Of Inchiquin
Why did you decide to send Rose Of Inchiquin to Westerner? We went to see him and he wasn’t overly big but he had a great racing pedigree and was a good racehorse. That was 11 years ago, so he was unproven at the time, but I just liked him and things clicked with the mare.
How successful was Rose Of Inchiquin as a racemare? At that time, there were very few races for mares. She was running against the boys, and was second and third to a great horse called Sackville twice in Graded races. Her biggest win was in the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan, and she beat some very good horses such as Bannow Bay that day. She also won two mares’ chases.
How did you acquire the mare? We went up to Goffs, and we met the agent Gary Norton, who used to work for Sir Robert Ogden at the time, and he steered us in her direction. He said: “Keep your hand up until the hammer goes down”. We got her for Ir21,000gns.
Would you go for the Ryanair or the Gold Cup? That’s debatable. They’re two very good races. The O’Learys probably sat down with [trainer] Gordon Elliott and they thought Don Poli and Outlander were better suited for the longer race.
Do you think he can replicate last year’s winning form at the Festival? Fingers crossed he will get there OK. Un De Sceaux is a very good horse, especially if the ground comes up soft. Hopefully Empire Of Dirt will get the trip, and will be there or thereabouts.