People

Michael Moore

In the last twenty-five years Michael Moore, helped enormously by his late sister Josie for the first fifteen, has developed the former cattle farm at Ballincurrig House to become a major force in Irish NH horse breeding, with clients including many leading owners, breeders and agents.

Michael is widely regarded as one of the leading experts on Irish Point-to-Point form. He has written on the topic in the ‘Irish Field’, acted as Irish Agent for Brightwells Sales prior to its purchase by Tattersalls Ireland, and now is NH Horses In Training Consultant to Goffs, identifying animals in the Point-to-Point field with significant potential for National Hunt racing. Amongst the horses sourced by Michael for Sales Houses in recent years are such stars as Lord WindermereOn His OwnRoad To RichesGod’s OwnHolywellPeddler’s Cross and Cheltenien. Michael has also helped several leading NH trainers identify prospects from the Irish Point-to-Point scene, not least of these being Triple Gold Cup winner Best Mate.

As well as running the day-to-day operations of the stud, Michael is always available to help clients with decisions on mating plans; and he has frequently acted for them in acquiring bloodstock at auction.

Nuala Healy

Formerly Head Girl with Jessica Harrington, Nuala has been a key part of Ballincurrig’s success for over 20 years. She worked closely with Michael’s sister Josie on Sales Preparation and is dedicated to producing athletic animals in peak condition, able to show themselves to the best of their ability and ready to go on to be successful racehorses. Nuala was a worthy winner of the Godolphin ‘Stud Employee of the Year’ Award for Ireland in 2016. It is possible that even more important to the judges’ verdict than Michael’s praise for her as a ‘loyal and hard-working employee with a caring nature’ was the fact that she had managed to cope with working with him at all.

Nuala receives her Godolphin Trophy. Michael had kindly given her the evening off.

Important members of the team helping Nuala are:

  • Wendy O’Shea;
  • Sean O’Shea (not married to Wendy, who is married to Sean’s first cousin, Seamus O’Shea);
  • Martin Bulman;
  • Johnny Barry;
  • Laura Whelan;
  • Mariusz Szostak (who we believe comes from County Kerry, which explains his strange accent).

Among former employees were the well-known jockey, Jonathon Burke, who in his youth used to help out at Sales before deciding that riding horses over big fences at 35 m.p.h. was far more relaxing than working for Michael Moore.

Josie Moore

A perfectionist when it came to looking after her horses, Josie Moore was the driving force in establishing the Sales operation at Ballincurrig House Stud, insisting on the highest standards of conditioning, preparation and professional integrity.  Josie died far too early, in March 2011, but not before seeing Ballincurrig House Stud established as a leading name in Irish NH circles. The methods and principles that she established have been continued by Michael and Nuala; and it is a tribute to Josie’s inspiration that Ballincurrig House was once more the leading vendor at Tattersalls Derby Sale, Goffs Land Rover Sale and Tattersalls August Sales in the year of her passing. This has continued to be the case in most years since. 

On numerous occasions in the pat few years Josie’s drive for perfection has been recalled by the racecourse efforts of a horse named after her, the outstanding Cross-Country performer, Josie’s Orders (bred by Michael and Josie’s mother Elizabeth from her mare Silent Orders) – the original Josie’s orders certainly weren’t silent but they definitely had to be obeyed!

Richard Rohan

Josie‚Äôs husband Richard is an expert judge of horseflesh, as shown by the list of subsequently successful animals that he has bought as foals and young stock. These include the Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Looks Like Trouble and War of Attrition, Two Mile Champion Chase winner Remittance Man, Stayers Hurdle winner Paisley Park, Grade 1 winning hurdler Fingal Bay, along with Slim Pickings, twice placed in the Grand National.

Although Richard runs his own Ballytrasna Stud, he is a regular member of the Ballincurrig team at sales, ensuring that stock is shown in the way that he as a buyer would expect, as well as advising Ballincurrig clients on potential purchases.Today Richard and Josie’s daughter, Sarah, is an increasingly valuable member of the Ballincurrig Sales team whenever her schooling permits (some might say ‘whenever we can come up with a good reason why she needn’t go to school’ – but we couldn’t possibly comment on that suggestion).

Denis Leahy

Michael’s cousin Denis is skilled in breaking and pre-training horses as well as being a successful trainer of Point-to-Point horses in his own right. Denis is patient and understanding of the horses sent to him; he teaches them to gallop and jump without stretching them beyond their limits; and he can ‘get inside their heads’ to work out the right basis for taking them forward. He also gives the owner excellent feedback, though usually accompanied by suitably thoughtful pauses. If Denis tells you a horse ‘might be quite good’ it will probably be pretty good; if he tells you ‘it might not be very good’ then don’t put it into training – it will probably save you a lot of money. When horses leave Denis’s pre-training regime they are almost ready to run. Last year one of our client’s horses won her first race in England only five weeks after leaving Denis’s care. This is far from unusual, so long as the trainer bothers to take notice of what he tells them!

Denis Leahy smiles in anticipation of future successes, some of them with horses…

Among the high-class horses Denis has broken and pre-trained at his idyllic Avondale Stables in Charleville are dual Grade 1 winner Oscar Whisky and Paul Murphy’s Grade 1 winners Darlan and Kalashnikov. These are the facilities that helped make them the horses they showed themselves to be when they went out into the big, wide world…