Coolmore Stud

Last updated

Coolmore Stud, in Fethard, County Tipperary, Ireland, is headquarters of the world's largest breeding operation of thoroughbred racehorses. [1] Through its racing arm, Ballydoyle, Coolmore also has raced many classic winners and champions. [2] The operation is currently owned and run by the Magnier family, which has been associated with a long sequence of top-class stallions since the 1850s, originally in County Cork, where stallions still stand as part of Coolmore today.

Fethard, County Tipperary Town in Munster, Ireland

Fethard is a small town in County Tipperary, Ireland. It is located 16 km (9.9 mi) east of Cashel on the Clashawley River where the R692, R689 and R706 regional roads intersect. It is a civil parish in the barony of Middle Third. It is part of the ecclesiastical parish of "Fethard and Killusty" in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly. As of 2016, its population was 1,545.

County Tipperary County in the Republic of Ireland

County Tipperary is a county in Ireland. It is located in the province of Munster. The county is named after the town of Tipperary, and was established in the early thirteenth century, shortly after the Norman invasion of Ireland. The population of the county was 159,553 at the 2016 census. The largest towns are Clonmel, Nenagh and Thurles.

Republic of Ireland Ireland, a country in north-western Europe, occupying 5/6 of the island of Ireland; succeeded the Irish Free State (1937)

Ireland, also known as the Republic of Ireland, is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, which is located on the eastern side of the island. Around a third of the country's population of 4.8 million people resides in the greater Dublin area. The sovereign state shares its only land border with Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. It is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, St George's Channel to the south-east, and the Irish Sea to the east. It is a unitary, parliamentary republic. The legislature, the Oireachtas, consists of a lower house, Dáil Éireann, an upper house, Seanad Éireann, and an elected President who serves as the largely ceremonial head of state, but with some important powers and duties. The head of government is the Taoiseach, who is elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President; the Taoiseach in turn appoints other government ministers.


Coolmore was home to champion sires Sadler's Wells [3] and Danehill, [4] and currently features leading sire Galileo.

Sadler's Wells was a thoroughbred racehorse who was bred in the United States but raced in Europe, winning the 1984 Irish 2000 Guineas, Eclipse Stakes and Phoenix Champion Stakes. He also finished second in the Prix du Jockey Club and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. He was named the champion miler in France, and was rated sixth overall in the International Classification for 1984.

Danehill (horse) racehorse

Danehill was a Thoroughbred racehorse who was bred in the United States. During his stud career, Danehill became a champion sire on both sides of the Equator. He is the most successful sire of all time with 349 stakes winners and 89 Group/Grade I winners. He was the leading sire in Australia nine times, the leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland three times, and the leading sire in France twice.

Galileo (horse) racehorse

Galileo is a retired Irish Thoroughbred racehorse and active sire. In a racing career which lasted from October 2000 until October 2001 he ran eight times and won six races. He is best known for winning The Derby, Irish Derby Stakes, and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2001 and for his rivalry with the Godolphin champion Fantastic Light. Since his retirement, Galileo has become one of the leading sires in the world and is the sire of multiple champions including Frankel, New Approach, Australia and Minding.

Coolmore Ireland

Coolmore was originally a relatively small farm dedicated to general agriculture, but came into the Vigors family in 1945 when a training operation was established there. It was inherited by Tim Vigors, famous fighter pilot in the Battle of Britain and in the Far East. Having left the air force, he firstly joined Goffs bloodstock auctioneers before setting up his own bloodstock agency in 1951. He moved to Coolmore in 1968 and began transforming it into the well known stud farm it is today.

Wing Commander Timothy Ashmead Vigors was a Royal Air Force fighter pilot and flying ace during the Second World War, serving in the Battle of Britain and in the Far East. In civilian life, Vigors began the development of the Coolmore Stud that went on to transform the breeding of thoroughbred racehorses.

Battle of Britain Air campaign between Germany and the United Kingdom during WWII

The Battle of Britain was a military campaign of the Second World War, in which the Royal Air Force (RAF) defended the United Kingdom (UK) against large-scale attacks by Nazi Germany's air force, the Luftwaffe. It has been described as the first major military campaign fought entirely by air forces. The British officially recognise the battle's duration as being from 10 July until 31 October 1940, which overlaps the period of large-scale night attacks known as The Blitz, that lasted from 7 September 1940 to 11 May 1941. German historians do not accept this subdivision and regard the battle as a single campaign lasting from July 1940 to June 1941, including the Blitz.

Vigors went into partnership with his friend Vincent O'Brien, a leading racehorse trainer, and Robert Sangster, the Vernons pools magnate. He later sold his interest to O'Brien and his son-in-law, John Magnier. Eventually, Magnier became sole owner, and built the farm into a multi-national, multibillion-euro operation. [1] The farm currently occupies over 7000 acres.

Vincent O'Brien was an Irish race horse trainer from Churchtown, County Cork, Ireland. In 2003 he was voted the greatest influence in horse racing history in a worldwide poll hosted by the Racing Post. In earlier Racing Post polls he was voted the best ever trainer of national hunt and of flat racehorses. He trained six horses to win the Epsom Derby, was twice British champion trainer, won three Grand Nationals in succession and trained the only British Triple Crown winner since the Second World War. Aidan O'Brien took over the Ballydoyle stables after his retirement.

Robert Edmund Sangster was a British businessman, thoroughbred racehorse owner and breeder. Sangster's horses won 27 European Classics and more than 100 Group One races, including two Epsom Derbys, four Irish Derbys, two French Derbys, three Prix de l'Arc de Triomphes, as well as the Breeders' Cup Mile and the Melbourne Cup. He was British flat racing Champion Owner five times.

John Magnier is an Irish business magnate. He is Ireland's leading thoroughbred stud owner and has extensive business interests outside the horse-breeding industry.

Northern Dancer would play a crucial role in Coolmore's success Northerndancer2.jpg
Northern Dancer would play a crucial role in Coolmore's success

In the mid-1970s, Coolmore became very active in the American sales market, displaying particular interest in the offspring of Northern Dancer. Their first significant purchase was The Minstrel, a dual classic winner in 1977. [1] Other purchases included Alleged, Storm Bird, Caerleon, Be My Guest and El Gran Senor. The bidding duels between Coolmore and the Maktoum brothers of Dubai became legendary, leading to a bloodstock boom in the 1980s. [5]

Northern Dancer Canadian-bred Thoroughbred racehorse

Northern Dancer was a Canadian-bred Thoroughbred racehorse that won the 1964 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and then became one of the most successful sires of the 20th century. He is considered a Canadian icon, and was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1965. Induction into the Racing Hall of Fame in both Canada and the United States followed in 1976. As a competitor, The Blood-Horse ranks him as one of the top 100 U.S. Thoroughbred champions of the 20th century. A sire of sires, he has been called the leading male-line progenitor of modern Thoroughbreds worldwide.

The Minstrel race horse

The Minstrel was a Canadian-bred, Irish-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. Bred in Ontario, he was sold as a yearling and exported to Europe, where he was campaigned in Ireland and the United Kingdom. As a two-year-old The Minstrel was unbeaten in three races including the Dewhurst Stakes, but lost two of his first three starts in 1977. He was then moved up in distance and won his remaining three races: the Epsom Derby, the Irish Derby, and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Storm Bird was a Canadian-bred, Irish-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. He was the outstanding European two-year-old of 1980, when he was unbeaten in five races, including the Anglesey Stakes, National Stakes, and Dewhurst Stakes. His subsequent career was disrupted by injury and illness, and he was well beaten in his only race of 1981. He was then retired to stud, where he became a successful breeding stallion.

Coolmore's first major homebred was Sadler's Wells, a son of Northern Dancer born in Kentucky at Sangster's Swettenham Stud. In 1984, Sadler's Wells won the Irish 2000 Guineas, the Eclipse Stakes and the Irish Champion Stakes and was named the champion miler in France. Retired to stud at Coolmore, Sadler's Wells went on to be the fourteen-time leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland. Sadler's Wells leading offspring include Galileo, Montjeu and High Chaparral, all of whom became important sires at Coolmore. [6]

The Eclipse Stakes is a Group 1 flat horse race in Great Britain open to horses aged three years or older. It is run at Sandown Park over a distance of 1 mile, 1 furlong and 209 yards, and it is scheduled to take place each year in early July.

Irish Champion Stakes

The Irish Champion Stakes is a Group 1 flat horse race in Ireland open to horses aged three years or older. It is run at Leopardstown over a distance of 1 mile and 2 furlongs, and it is scheduled to take place each year in September.

Leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland

The title of champion, or leading, sire of racehorses in Great Britain and Ireland is awarded to the stallion whose offspring have won the most prize money in Britain and Ireland during the flat racing season. The current champion is Galileo, who achieved his ninth title in 2017, when his progeny won over £15 million in prize money.

In 1990, Coolmore purchased a half-interest in Danehill, a grandson of Northern Dancer, and began shuttling him between Ireland and Australia. Danehill became a champion sire first in Australia and then in Europe, siring well over 300 stakes winners. [1] His sons include current Coolmore stallions Rock of Gibraltar, Dylan Thomas, Fastnet Rock and Holy Roman Emperor.

New sire Australia in 2015 Australia At Stud.tiff
New sire Australia in 2015

Coolmore's current leading sire is Galileo, who as of 2016 has led the sire list nine times. With the victory of Minding in the 2016 1000 Guineas, Galileo has sired at least one winner in each of British Classic Races. [7] Several of Galileo's sons are currently standing at Coolmore, including classic winners Australia and Gleneagles.

Although the stallion operation receives the most attention, Coolmore also maintains a large broodmare band and boards mares for clients. Coolmore is active at major breeding stock sales, looking for mares that are best suited to its stallions. For example, in 2012 Coolmore paid $5 million for Untouched Talent, already the dam of grade 1 winner Bodemeister, with plans to breed her to Galileo. [8] In 2016, Coolmore announced that Untouched Talent was the first mare confirmed in foal to American Pharoah. [9]


The original farm is now known as Coolmore Ireland, and has three branches: Coolmore Australia, Ashford Stud, which operates as Coolmore America, and Coolmore National Hunt (or Castle Hyde Stud) in Ireland, which specialises in breeding for National Hunt racing. Coolmore has many "shuttle stallions" that cover mares in either Ireland or Kentucky in the northern breeding season and are transported to Australia and South America for the southern breeding season.

Coolmore America (Ashford Stud)

Ashford Stud, located near Versailles, Kentucky, became a part of Coolmore in the mid-1980s. In 2001, Thunder Gulch was the first Ashford sire to top the American general sire listing. Giant's Causeway later became the leading sire in 2009, 2010 and 2012. [10] Ashford also stands Uncle Mo, leading first year sire of 2015 and sire of 2016 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist. [11]

Whereas most stallions standing at Coolmore Ireland are now homebreds, most of those standing at Ashford Stud had their breeding rights purchased during their racing career. For example, in May 2015 it was announced that Ashford Stud had purchased the breeding rights to American Pharoah from Ahmed Zayat in late 2014 for a reported $13.8 million. [12] [13] American Pharoah went on to become the first racehorse in 37 years to win the American Triple Crown, and the first ever to win the Grand Slam of Thoroughbred racing by winning the 2015 Breeders' Cup Classic.

Coolmore Australia

Fastnet Rock by Charles Church Fastnet Rock.jpg
Fastnet Rock by Charles Church

Coolmore Australia, located near Jerrys Plains in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, is a 3,340 ha farm that has approximately 1,000 horses, including 600 mares that produce about 300 foals there during the spring. [14] The stallion roster includes several permanent sires such as Choisir and Fastnet Rock, plus others who shuttle from the northern hemisphere on a rotating basis.

The farm was founded in 1824 and purchased by Coolmore in 1996. Danehill first made his reputation here, becoming the leading sire in Australia nine times. Encosta de Lago also led the sire list twice before being retired from breeding in 2015. [15] Fastnet Rock, still standing at Coolmore Australia, has led the Australian sire list twice.

National Hunt

Coolmore's National Hunt division consists of three farms in Ireland: Grange Stud, Beeches Stud and Castlehyde Stud. The Magnier family has been breeding horses for the National Hunt since the 1850s. Over the generations, they have stood several outstanding jump stallions, including 14-time leading sire Deep Run, and 4-time leader Be My Native. Although Sadler's Wells was never a National Hunt sire per se, several champion hurdlers trace back to him. Yeats, a son of Sadler's Wells renowned for his staying ability, now stands at Castlehyde Stud.

Stallions standing at Coolmore (2016)


National Hunt

Related Research Articles

Fastnet Rock (horse)

Fastnet Rock is an Australian Thoroughbred racehorse stallion.

Holy Roman Emperor, is a retired Thoroughbred racehorse and active sire. He was a leading two-year-old racehorse, winning four races from seven runs in Europe in 2006.

Dylan Thomas is a retired Irish Thoroughbred racehorse and active sire. In a racing career which lasted from June 2005 until December 2007, he ran twenty times and won ten races. After winning two minor races in 2005 he improved to become one of the leading European three-year-olds of 2006, winning the Irish Derby and the Irish Champion Stakes as well as finishing a close third in The Derby. In 2007 he won three of Europe's most important weight-for-age races, taking the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, a second Irish Champion Stakes and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp. His performances led to his being named European Horse of the Year in 2007.

Peeping Fawn is a Champion Irish-trained Thoroughbred racehorse. Unraced as a two-year-old, it took her four tries to break her maiden at age three. Her form then rapidly improved, reflected by a third-place finish in the Irish 1000 Guineas and a second in The Oaks, followed by four consecutive Group One wins – the Pretty Polly, Irish Oaks, Nassau and Yorkshire Oaks. She was named the Cartier Champion Three-year-old Filly of 2007.


Henrythenavigator is an American-bred and Irish-trained Thoroughbred racehorseOwned by Mr Tom Dowling. He won the 2000 Guineas, the Irish 2,000 Guineas, the St. James's Palace Stakes and the Sussex Stakes in 2008.

King of Kings (horse) race horse

King of Kings was an Irish Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. In a career that lasted from May 1997 to June 1998 he ran seven times and won five races. After establishing himself as one of the leading colts of his generation in Ireland as a two-year-old, when his wins included the Group One National Stakes, he recorded his most important win when he travelled to England to win the 2000 Guineas on his first start of 1998. After a disappointing run in The Derby he was retired to stud. He died in South Africa at the age of twenty.

Milan (horse) racehorse

Milan, is a retired Thoroughbred racehorse and active sire who was bred in Britain but trained in Ireland. In a career which lasted from October 2000 until May 2002, he ran ten times and won three races. He recorded his most important success when winning the Classic St. Leger Stakes as a three-year-old in 2001. In the same year also won the Great Voltigeur Stakes and finished second in the Breeders' Cup Turf. He was retired after being injured in his only race as a four-year-old.


Shahtoush was an Irish Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare best known for winning The Oaks in 1998. In a racing career which lasted from August 1997 to September 1998 the filly ran eleven times and won three races. Shahtoush won only one minor race as a two-year-old, but showed top-class form when she finished third in the Group One Moyglare Stud Stakes. In 1998 she finished second in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket Racecourse and then returned to England to win the Classic Oaks over one and a half miles at Epsom. She was beaten in her two remaining races, finishing unplaced in the Yorkshire Oaks and the Irish Champion Stakes.

Australia (horse) Racehorse

Australia is an Irish-bred, Thoroughbred racehorse best known for winning the 2014 Epsom Derby. As a two-year-old in 2013, he won two of his three races, creating a very favourable impression when winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Trial Stakes, and was highly regarded by his trainer Aidan O'Brien. In May 2014 he finished third behind Night of Thunder and Kingman in the 2000 Guineas before winning the Epsom Derby on 7 June. He subsequently won the Irish Derby and International Stakes before being defeated by The Grey Gatsby in the Irish Champion Stakes. His racing career was ended by injury in October 2014. He is standing at Coolmore stud.

Squirt was a Thoroughbred racehorse, best known as the grandsire of Eclipse, founder of the breed's dominant sire line. He lived at a time when the Thoroughbred breed was in its infancy, before even the foundation of the Jockey Club and General Stud Book. Thus information is incomplete.

Damson is an Irish Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare. She showed her best form as a two-year-old in 2004 when she was unbeaten in her first four races including the Fillies' Sprint Stakes, Queen Mary Stakes and Phoenix Stakes. On her only subsequent start that year she finished third in the Cheveley Park Stakes. At the end of the year she was rated the second-best filly of her generation in Europe. She failed to reproduce her juvenile form in three starts as a three-year-old in 2005 and was retired from racing. She has had some success as a broodmare.

Quarter Moon was an Irish Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare. As a two-year-old in 2001 she showed considerable promise, taking the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes on the second of her two starts. In the following year she failed to win but showed top class form to finish second in four Group 1 races: the Irish 1,000 Guineas, the Epsom Oaks, the Irish Oaks and the Nassau Stakes. After retiring from racing at the end of the year she became a successful broodmare whose foals have included the Pretty Polly Stakes winner Diamondsandrubies.


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Three "lads" with a vision". November 15, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2016.
  2. Pope, Conor (August 22, 2015). "Behind the Scenes at Coolmore and Ballydoyle" . Retrieved May 14, 2016.
  3. Racing Post Staff (April 26, 2011). "Legendary sire Sadler's Wells dies aged 30".
  4. Presnell, Max (June 27, 2003). "Still standing tall, Danehill is a giant of the breed".
  5. Oakford, Glenye Cain (April 8, 2004). "Robert Sangster dead". Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  6. "Tribute to Sadler's Wells",, May 25, 2011, retrieved May 15, 2016
  7. Hill, Chris (May 1, 2016), "Galileo Claims 1,000 Guineas with Minding",, retrieved May 15, 2016
  8. Nevills, Joe (November 6, 2012), "Bodemeister's dam goes to Coolmore for $5 million",, retrieved May 15, 2016
  9. "Catching up with American Pharoah",, March 3, 2016, retrieved May 15, 2016
  10. "General Sire Lists (enter year)". Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  11. Mitchell, Eric (April 30, 2016). "Derby battle: Tapit vs. Uncle Mo". Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  12. McGrath, Maggie. "Why American Pharoah, The First Triple Crown Winner In 37 Years, Is Worth $50 Million". Forbes. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  13. Rovell, Darren. "American Pharoah breeding rights sold to Ashford Stud". ESPN. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  14. Farr, Bronwyn (8 September 2011). "Horses vital to Hunter". Land Newspaper.
  15. "Champion sire Encosta de Lago retired". Retrieved May 15, 2016.