Michael O’Leary to phase out Gigginstown racing operation

Stud owner confirms they are running down string over the next ‘four or five’ years

Michael O’Leary and Gordon Elliott celebrate Tiger Roll’s 2019 Aintree Grand National success. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Michael O’Leary and Gordon Elliott celebrate Tiger Roll’s 2019 Aintree Grand National success. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

 

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has rocked the racing world by announcing plans to withdraw from the sport over the next five years.

O’Leary has dominated National Hunt racing over the last decade with his massive Gigginstown Stud team crowned champion owner for a seventh time in Ireland at Punchestown earlier this month.

However in a shock statement on Tuesday, the businessman announced he will not be buying any more young horses and he will be phasing out his racing team over the next five years.

Gigginstown own hundreds of horses dispersed among some of the top trainers in Ireland, including Gordon Elliott who saddled Tiger Roll to win the Aintree Grand National for the second year running last month.

A statement said O’Leary will continue to have his usual numbers on the track this coming season but will not be adding to its ranks over the next few years.

Tiger Roll and Davy Russell after winning the 2019 Aintree Grand National in the colours of Gigginstown. Photograph: Conor Molloy/Getty
Tiger Roll and Davy Russell after winning the 2019 Aintree Grand National in the colours of Gigginstown. Photograph: Conor Molloy/Getty

“As my children are growing into teenagers I am spending more and more of my time at their activities and I have less and less time for National Hunt racing, a situation that will continue over the foreseeable future.

“I hope that by running down our string over an extended four or five year period it will give trainers ample time to replace our horses without disruption,” O’Leary said.

As well as Elliott, the renowned businessman has substantial numbers of horses with Noel Meade, Henry De Bromhead and Joseph O’Brien.

O’Leary has won the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice, with War Of Attrition in 2006 and Don Cossack in 2015. His list of big race wins also includes three victories in all in the Aintree Grand National.

“We have lots of young stock to be allocated amongst our trainers over the coming weeks and each of our trainers will receive their usual allocation of young point to pointers.

“Each and every one of those horses will remain in the Gigginstown colours for the entirety of their career so hopefully we can have many more great days to look forward to,” O’Leary’s brother, and Gigginstown spokesman, Eddie O’Leary added.

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