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Connacht Tribune

Breeding the next generation of Cheltenham racing heroes

Mike Glynn

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John Lynch with Nocturnal Fox.

By Michael Glynn

Stallion owners in the western counties operate in adversity at the best of times with their breeder brethren in the premier thoroughbred counties reluctant to support them, but when the fates conspire against you, it makes things all the more difficult.

Such was the experience of John Lynch of Windmill View Stud in Kiltormer last Autumn when, in the matter of weeks, he lost his promising Galileo stallion Gatewood and a foal half-brother by him to a €546,000 sale topper in Hong Kong in separate circumstances — with his misfortune then being compounded when the dam of the latter aborted a sibling as a consequence.

“Anyone who works with horses will know that disappointment and loss lurk around every corner,” says John phlegmatically.

His stoic attitude to such a sequence of setbacks is born out of a greater tragedy endured by John and his wife Rita when they lost their eldest son Johnny, at the age of 20, in a car accident 13 years ago.

“Our son’s death took a long, long time to come to terms with and I suppose something like that puts everything else into perspective,” John points out. “You never look at things the same again.

“I was crestfallen when I discovered Gatewood dead in his box one morning last September, and the disappointment was doubled within a couple of weeks with what happened to the foals. But none of that compares to real grief . . . the loss of someone you love. It pales in comparison.”

Gatewood, trained by John Gosden to win the G3 Prix de Reux at Deauville and the listed Wolferton Handicap over 10 furlongs at Royal Ascot — he later won the G3 Geelong Cup in Australia — has left 100-plus progeny to represent him on the racecourse after his four seasons at stud, and John fully expects them to make an impact.

“He had done very well for us, covering up to 40 mares a year and his foals were selling well, regularly making over €5,000 which was more than double his covering fee. The oldest are now three year-olds and I will be surprised if there are not some very good ones among them.

“He had the class and speed to win at Royal Ascot, the durability to come through 28 races on two continents perfectly sound, and he had great conformation and temperament. What’s more, he stamped his stock in his own likeness and they were all bays. I always take that as a good sign in a stallion.”

Although John has the compensation of five of his own mares in foal to Gatewood, the one he was most looking forward to, a colt out of the US-bred Mining mare Mine Inning, got himself entangled in sheep wire last Autumn and, in his panic, suffered fatal injuries. To worsen the woe, the mare, stressed by this freak event, lost the foal she was carrying.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Limited go-ahead for marts

Francis Farragher

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Marts: Individual sales to be allowed.

MART managers and staff across the county are busy this week preparing operating protocols for approval by the Dept. of Agriculture that will allow for the limited sale of livestock during the current COVID-19 emergency.

On Tuesday, the Dept. of Agriculture confirmed that they would be allowing marts to handle livestock sales in a limited way – marts will liaise with buyers and sellers; arrange for the weighing of the animals; and process payments.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, said that the Dept. had issued guidance to marts for ‘a very limited range of essential services’ that would not require people to assemble: the transactions would include calf sales, the weighing of livestock, and an online or brokerage service.

Ray Doyle of ICOS (Irish Co-operative Organisation Society) this week thanked the Government for their announcement, adding that ‘it was reasonable’ for a form of trading to continue to alleviate the current economic burden on farmers.

He pointed out that only mart staff would handle the animals; the buyer and seller would not have contact with each other; each could observe the weighing data; the buyer could view the animals from a distance; the sale would be completed electronically; no visitors or members of the public would be admitted; full sanitisation protocols would be observed; with the sale to be completed electronically.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Self-isolation success staves off Covid-19 surge – for now

Dara Bradley

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Anaesthetic Registrar Dr Robbie Sparks with Clinical Facilitator Claire Lavelle simulating an intubation of a patient with COVID-19 in the ICU at UHG. (Photo supplied by UHG because of visitor restrictions)

The predicted surge in Covid19-related admissions to Galway’s hospitals has been delayed – for now – giving much-needed breathing space to ramp-up preparations and increase Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity and beds for when it does hit.

But hospital management remains concerned in particular with the ‘significant’ number of staff in the West who have been taken off the frontline because they are ill from coronavirus, or self-isolating as a precaution after coming in close contact with an infected person.

And as the latest figures show 86 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Galway – seven times the figure from a fortnight ago – the HSE has conceded that local testing for the virus was suspended Sunday due to a shortage of testing kits. Limited testing resumed on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, although hospital chiefs in the West insist they have sufficient levels of personal protective equipment (PPE), nursing homes across Galway are facing a shortage of basic equipment such as masks, and many have appealed to the public for donations.

Chief Clinical Director Saolta Group, and consultant cardiologist, Dr Pat Nash, said UHG, the main Covid-19 hospital in the West, has experienced increased activity but ‘not a huge surge in admissions’.

“The hospital still has significant capacity available both on wards and ICU,” he said.

But Dr Nash stressed there was no room for complacency and the public needed to continue to observe social distancing, stay at home and practice hand hygiene.

 

See full story – and 23 pages of coverage on the Covid-19 crisis in Galway – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or available to buy as a digital edition via our website www.connachttribune.ie. The Tribune can also be ordered as part of your shopping delivery from most outlets now.

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Connacht Tribune

Loan sharks prey on families hit by pandemic

Denise McNamara

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Moneylenders have been targeting working class areas in Galway where hundreds of people have lost their jobs in the lockdown, encouraging them to take out loans with exorbitant interest rates.

Deputy for Galway East Sean Canny said he had received several reports of estates in the city where leaflets had been distributed recently by legitimate loan sharks.

“These people are licensed so they are not doing anything illegal but I do think it’s immoral in these times and my advice is to ignore money lenders,” he stressed.

“We have credit unions where people can go to for advice and for loans and we have MABS [Money Advice and Budgeting Service] which can provide advice that maybe they don’t need more money but may need to manage their budget better.

“People don’t make the best decisions when they’re stressed but I would really urge them not to go down this road because they can charge interest rates of 187% which is really fleecing people.”

Paul Bailey, Head of Communications at the Irish League of Credit Unions, said they have also been getting reports of leaflets being dropped by moneylenders in working class areas.

 

See full story – and 23 pages of coverage on the Covid-19 crisis in Galway – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or available to buy as a digital edition via our website www.connachttribune.ie. The Tribune can also be ordered as part of your shopping delivery from most outlets now.

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