Harty father and son team make history with first joint-trainer licence in Ireland

Eddie Harty believes new move will be a huge boost to industry in the future

A little piece of racing history takes place on Sunday when the first runners sent out by an officially licensed training partnership line up at Punchestown.

The father and son team of Eddie and Patrick Harty are the first joint-trainer licence holders in Ireland.

The implementation of new rules allowing such an arrangement by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) comes on the back of joint-licences being permitted in Britain since last year.

"It's the way forward. In time you will see a lot more of them. We will look back on it as a big step forward," said Eddie Harty, a Cheltenham festival winner, now joining forces with his son at their Curragh base.


“Patrick will be 30 in July and for a young lad going out on his own, to be serious about it, unless you’re lucky enough to have Lotto money behind you, if you want to buy a place, fit it out, put gallops in, you’re looking at seven figures.

“I heard Michael O’Flynn [property developer] talking the other day and when the O’Flynns can’t get money from banks to build apartments that everybody’s looking for, what chance does a young fella have of getting the capital in place to take on a venture likes this.

“So it makes sense. It allows continuity and one generation talking to their own generation in the same language.

“If you had two other entities operating, and barely breaking even, you would have economies of scale and cost cutting which makes a lot of sense as well,” added Harty who has been pushing for the rules to be changed for the last 10 years.

“It’s been in Australia and New Zealand for a long time and at a high level too. It wasn’t two guys down the sticks. It was the likes of Gai Waterhouse and the Freedmans. If they were doing it then it made sense,” he added.

Fears about potential liability problems under the new system had previously been expressed but were downplayed by Harty on Friday.

“If ‘A’ commits a foul, ‘B’ is equally culpable,” he said. “It’s one licence. If there is any integrity issue both people are equally liable for the outcome.

“If you had two people and after a year they couldn’t stand the sight of each other, I presume it’s treated like any other partnership. If you’re accountants, and you fall out, you dissolve the partnership.

“I’m delighted to be the groundbreaker on it. As a family we’re training since God knows when so it’s nice to be first and I think it’s the way forward.”

The first of two Harty runners on Sunday will be the Rachael Blackmore-ridden Lily Light Foot in a handicap hurdle.

It is part of a glut of National Hunt action spread across three days in a row at Punchestown, beginning on Saturday where the £430,000 (€500,000) purchase Grangeclare West makes her racecourse debut in a bumper.

Jessica Harrington and Shane Foley will be represented at Haydock on Saturday where Njord should relish soft ground conditions in the Group Three John Of Gaunt Stakes.

The same team are involved in Ireland’s sole Flat action of the weekend at Navan where Los Andes is their runner in a decent three-year-old handicap.

Fans of the Derby outsider Sir Lamorak will hope for a boost in this through Bear Story who chased home the Ballydoyle colt at Leopardstown last month.

Testing ground conditions saw Must Be Dreaming run a career best at Cork on his last start and similar going, and a first time visor, could see him go one better in the finale.