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Q&A with BBA Ireland Bloodstock Agents Michael Donohoe & Richard Fitzsimons

(Pictured above Miss Amulet winning the ARQANA Irish EBF Marwell Stakes. Miss Amulet was purchased by Michael Donohoe)

Ahead of the BBA Ireland Opera Hat Mares race this Saturday, BBA Bloodstock agents Michael Donohoe and Richard Fitzsimons tell us about their recent bargain buys, challenges of being an agent, what they look for in a horse and more....

  1. Tell us about a rewarding and challenging part of being a bloodstock agent?

Michael: Seeing purchases winning and/or selling well for clients is very satisfying. Current challenges are of course COVID and pre COVID being away from family for weeks on end is difficult. 

Richard: The feeling of satisfaction when you get a good result on the track or in the sales ring for a client or yourself. One of the main challenges is that it is a 24/7 job and you are dealing with clients in different time zones.

  1. What are the top qualities you look for when purchasing a horse? 

Michael: Athleticism is the key for me. And a good eye and willing attitude. Then pedigree and gut instinct. 

Richard: Apon first inspection f a horse they make an impression on you and this paints the picture along with your gut instinct on what you think of the horse. I also like to see a horse with a good attitude and a good kind eye.

  1. Who has been your most successful purchase and what has been a bargain buy for you over the years?

Michael: Luckily last season was a stellar one on the purchase front. Lucky Vega winning the Phoenix Stakes I guess makes him the most exciting purchase. We hope to have a big year on the track with him. Best value purchase was also last season with Miss Amulet. She cost 7,500 Guineas, she won a Group 2 and was Group 1 placed. We sold her for a tidy profit to Michael Tabor & team and she could be a very exciting filly for this coming season.

Richard: Id classify my first stakes horse Mattymolls Gaga my best purchase as it signified a huge stepping stone in my career and breaking into new territory purchasing a stakes calibre horse.  Recently Encapsulation (Listed winner & G2 winner Mister Sea Wolf) have been good HIT purchases. Bargain buy would have to be Njord who won six days after being purchased and was touched off in the two premier handicaps the Colm Quinn Mile & EBF ‘Ahnorra’ handicap in Galway this summer. Thankful things fell right for him at the end of the season and he got a clear run and won the Balmoral Handicap at Ascot on English Champions Stakes Day.

  1. What new stallion progenies are you looking forward to seeing on the track this year?

Michael: Churchill I bought a very nice colt by him and I’m hearing good reports and not just propaganda. Also I liked the look of the Profitable progeny. Again I bought some nice yearlings by him who are going very well. 

Richard: Id fancy Ribchester as he was a tough, consistent and honest horse who showed a willing attitude when racing and never give up.

  1. It won’t be long until the flat season kicks off, give us one horse to follow?

Micheal: Lucky Vega has turned into a monster but I guess he would be on a lot of people’s watch list. I bought a cheap filly as a yearling called Soaring Sky who won her only start at the end of last season for Jessie Harrington. She has turned into a magnificent big strong girl and she could turn out to be a progressive sort over a trip. 

Richard: Mia Mento is a filly I purchased at the HIT sales and is in training with Jessie Harrington. If she adapts to her new surroundings and rekindles her love for racing with Jessie pointing her in the right direction she will hopefully provide the owners with some enjoyment this season.

  1. If you weren’t a bloodstock agent, what career would you be in?

Michael: A Guard or a Prison Officer!

Richard: I will say an accountant and keep in the good books of the man that pays my wages!!!

 

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