Both Midnight Legend and Kayf Tara have been at the vanguard of the British National Hunt stallion ranks in recent years and over the busy Christmas racing period they have each been represented by a major Grade 1 winner in Ireland.
Pitchall Farm Stud’s Midnight Legend recorded his first success at the highest level courtesy of Sizing John, winner of the Grade 1 Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown on December 27. The four-year-old was bred in Britain by Bryan and Sandra Mayoh, the team having also been responsible this season for Listed mares’ bumper winner Lifeboat Mona (a daughter of Kayf Tara).
Twenty-four hours later, Overbury Stud resident Kayf Tara – who has been Champion British National Hunt sire five times – enjoyed a double at Leopardstown with Lieutenant Colonel, whose victory in the Christmas Hurdle was his second successive Grade 1 win for Gigginstown House Stud. Michael O’Leary’s operation also owns that day’s highly promising maiden hurdle winner Identity Thief, who is now unbeaten in two starts.
Identity Thief is trained in Ireland by Henry de Bromhead, who sent out another son of Kayf Tara, Special Tiara, to win the Grade 2 Desert Orchid Chase the previous day at Kempton.
Last season, Lieutenant Colonel earned his breeder Heather Calzini the Dudgeon Cup at the TBA Awards in July and will doubtless be in line for further honours following his exploits so far this season.