Rarely a week goes by, when there isn’t a notable Cork success, at a racecourse somewhere around the world.
But last Saturday proved to be an extraordinary day for one family in particular.
Edmond Coleman and Barbara Kirby-Coleman watched on with great pride, as horses they bred both won races at Ascot, on the same afternoon.
The husband and wife from East Cork were thrilled to see both Demachine and Wonderwall win their contests, at one of England’s premier racetracks.
Edmond, a multiple Cheltenham Festival-winning breeder, bred Demachine. A son of Flemensfirth, and out of Dancingonthemoon, Demachine was sold as a foal, in November 2014 at Tattersalls.
The six-year-old gelding is now in training with Kerry Lee. Sent off at odds of 11/4 (and favourite), he was winning his second chase from as many starts over fences this season, when staying on stoutly in the novices’ handicap, at the Berkshire venue.
Three hours later, on the same card, Wonderwall (3/1 favourite) justified huge market support, to make a winning start to his racing career, in the bumper.
He rallied to get the better of The Queen’s Hamilton’s Fantasy late-on. Trained by Richard Spencer, he is now being touted as a Champion Bumper contender.
Barbara bred the four-year-old son of Yeats, who is her first winner as a breeder. Out of the dam, Rock Me Gently, Wonderwall fetched €105,000 at last year’s Goffs Land Rover Sale. Connections see him as a future staying chaser.
It’s also interesting to note that he is owned by a partnership called Rebel Jumping, enhancing the Cork connection.
Reflecting on a memorable Saturday, Edmond said: “We were thrilled. They are two promising horses. I was expecting Demachine to win. They backed the other fella (Wonderwall) off the board!
"So, they really expected a big run from him. Wonderwall is a very well-bred horse. His mother would be a sister to (the former Cheltenham Festival winner) Riverside Theatre. He’d have a right good pedigree. Barbara, my wife, owns the mare. She gets the credit for this one!
“It was the first broodmare she bought and the first foal out the dam to run for her. It is Barbara’s first big win as a breeder; her first runner as a breeder even. I’d say Demachine isn’t too bad either.
“His dam would be a sister to Lord Windermere. He is the dam’s first gelding to run.”
Earlier this season, Edmond witnessed another one of his stock (Eugene O’Sullivan’s It Came To Pass) completing a memorable triumph, in winning the Foxhunters’ Chase, at the Cheltenham Festival. It Came To Pass is also a half-brother to former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Lord Windermere which is another big name produced by the local breeder.
Both are out of the hugely-successful broodmare, Satellite Dancer, who also produced the multiple graded-winning Sub Lieutenant. The dam died last year aged 26. Another son, Onchan, is in training with Nigel Twiston-Davies and rates an interesting prospect also. The Last Samuri, out of the dam Howaboutthis, is another high-profile runner bred by Edmond. He was runner-up in the Aintree Grand National and was retired last year.
Meanwhile, Shishkin was imperious on his return to action in midweek. Nicky Henderson’s charge produced a flawless display of jumping, at Kempton, to win on his first chase outing under rules. His trainer marked the performance as being a perfect 10. Shishkin jumped with fluency and was superb at more than one of his obstacles.
There’s a strong local connection to the winner of last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, as he is owned by Cork’s Joe and Marie Donnelly. A son of Sholokhov, who stands at Glenview stud in Fermoy, he finished third in a point-to-point at Inch, on his first outing, two years’ ago. He won on his next start at Lingstown.
Since joining his handler at Seven Barrows, Shishkin has won on all of his completed starts. One of a number of potential superstars sporting the black and yellow colours this term, he could light up this National Hunt season, if his impressive fencing debut is anything to go by.