Ballymore puts the building boom back into horse racing

Sean Mulryan’s company to sponsor headline contest at Punchestown

Sean Mulryan’s Forget The Past, running at Leopardstown Photograph: Eric Luke

Sean Mulryan’s Forget The Past, running at Leopardstown Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Developer Sean Mulryan’s Ballymore Properties is making a comeback to racing by sponsoring one of the headline contests on the final day of this month’s Punchestown National Hunt Festival.

Mr Mulryan was one of a group of property players who kept a string of racehorses during the boom years a decade ago. At one point he estimated that he owned 50-100 thoroughbreds.

Punchestown said on Thursday that Ballymore will back the €100,000 handicap hurdle on Saturday, April 29th, the last day of the festival, on which the tapes are due to go up on Tuesday, April 25th.

The 2½ mile race is set to attract a large number of runners. Another high-profile Irish racehorse owner, JP McManus, won last year’s running with Anibale Fly, trained by Tony Martin and ridden by Barry Geraghty.

Sean Mulryan estimated at one point that he owned up to 100 thoroughbred horses Photograph: Alan Betson
Sean Mulryan estimated at one point that he owned up to 100 thoroughbred horses Photograph: Alan Betson

Mr Mulryan’s distinctive navy and yellow colours were carried by a large number of high-class horses during the property boom.

They included Forget the Past, a multiple winner at the highest level over jumps, trained by late Michael O’Brien, who handled a number of Mulryan-owned horses.

Bubble era

He also owned Thewayyouare, a high-class flat horse who was at one point fancied for the 2008 Epsom Derby. While he never ran in the race, his career on the track was enough to earn him a place at stud. He subsequently sired the group one winning Toast of New York.

Racehorses were a favourite investment of bubble-era developers. Seamus Ross of Menolly Homes and Michael Whelan of Maplewood, the company behind Adamstown, were among other well-known names who used some of their wealth to buy horses.

Ballymore Properties is one of the country’s biggest players in construction and development.

The group has projects in Ireland, Britain and Europe. It is working on a joint venture with State assets agency, Nama in Dublin’s docklands and has a series of developments in London.

Mr Mulryan, originally from Sligo, lives in Ballymore Eustace, in Kildare. He built the company from scratch.