'I hope that he runs well and gives a good account of himself'
Patrick Collins bred The Druids Nephew who goes for the Ultima
How did you acquire The Druids Nephew’s dam Gifted? I bought the mare from her previous owner [Lenore Peacock] in a private sale. Gifted died a few years ago, and The Druids Nephew was the last of her eight foals.
Do you think he can regain his title in the Ultima Handicap Chase? Well he’s in at around the same weight he won off before. I hope he runs well and can give a good account of himself.
He was also very unlucky not to win a Grand National, because he just tipped over. He’s not a bad horse at all.
Have you previously bred any Cheltenham Festival runners? I bred Aupcharlie, who was third to Cheltenian in the Champion Bumper in 2011. He was also just a head second to Back In Focus in a Grade 1 novice chase at the Leopardstown Christmas festival the following year.
My mother Bernie bred Salsify, a dual winner of the Foxhunter Chase at the festival and nine other hunter chases under rules.
Benefficient, who won at the festival in 2013, was also bred on the farm.
Have you come close with any others? The family of The Druids Nephew is steeped in Flat form. Mrs Peacock bred a good runner out of Gifted before I got her. Charlie Mann had him and he was called Abbot. He was favourite for one of the races at Cheltenham, but met with a fatal accident at six.
I also went over to France and picked out Rougedespoir, the dam of last year’s Ultima Handicap Chase winner Un Temps Pour Tout, for Felix Talbot.
Why did you decide to send the mare to King’s Theatre? He was standing for €7,500 at the time, and was being well publicised for what he was doing with his early jumps runners. He was a high-profile stallion at that time.
It’s a good family, Gifted is by Shareef Dancer. She had a twisted leg in front, and it was putting a lot of people off, but I went to Beneficial, and she bred State Benefit, who was a really good and correct foal, and then I kicked on and bred her to King’s Theatre.
What else did you breed out of the mare? We bred the last three foals out of her. State Benefit was trained by Nicky Henderson and got black type for finishing second in a Grade 2 novice chase at Haydock.