Giveaway filly puts Ulster's rising star Oliver on the map

 

Trainers must cut their cloth according to their means – meaning that even that astounding, seventh consecutive Irish Derby for Aidan O'Brien was not necessarily his profession's standout achievement at the Curragh last weekend.

Andrew Oliver, a young trainer putting Ulster on the Flat racing map, saddled a runner in both juvenile Group races at the meeting. On Saturday "a four grand colt" named Tiger Stripes finished third in the Railway Stakes; the next day, Sendmylovetorose won a Group Three prize for fillies. Oliver found her for just £5,000 at Doncaster last autumn.

"She obviously didn't tick all the boxes for every agent," he said yesterday. "But her conformation was fine – and she was bred to run. I always take the pedigree as the starting point and, as the old adage says, a horse doesn't know what it costs. If the ability is in there somewhere, it's my job to coax it out."

If his words evoke Mark Johnston, it is no coincidence. Oliver, who also set out by qualifying as a vet, learnt the ropes as assistant to Johnston before returning to set up a yard on the family farm in Co Tyrone. Apart from that stint in Middleham, and previous veterinary work in stables round the world, he declares: "I'm afraid any wit I have, I was born with."

Oliver now has over 50 horses being ridden out daily. "For a trainer, Ireland is perhaps as competitive as anywhere in the world, both in the quality of the horses and the horsemen," he said. "But I quite enjoy that. If you win a Curragh maiden, you have a good horse – and you've done your job well, no argument. It is a tough environment, but you can still find your niche."

It must have been hard to remain so positive, however, when Sendmylovetorose, seeking a breakthrough success for her stable in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot, became trapped under the stalls.

Oliver watched aghast. "It came as a complete shock," he said. "At home she's a placid, stoical filly, with no quirks at all. We got her home and looked her over. Physically, she seemed fine, but you couldn't know what the psychological scars might be. So really things could not have worked out sweeter on Sunday – everything was straightforward, and she showed a great attitude. It was great to repair the situation."

On her only previous start, Sendmylovetorose had won a Navan maiden by five and a half lengths. One option now is the Cherry Hinton Stakes at Newmarket next week, but Oliver is wary about travelling her again so soon – and she may yet be supplemented to the Phoenix Stakes back at the Curragh.

A Group One podium place would be an extraordinary dividend from such a cheap yearling, with her breeding career in mind. "She's won her place there now, in prize-money, if the owners want to go," Oliver said.

"Yes, it is satisfying – it feels like you're making progress. All credit to my staff, we had 14 runners over the three days at the Curragh. And we had our first Group winner last year. Hopefully, we're climbing our way upwards."

Turf Account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Dora's Sister (4.20 Catterick) Caught the eye on her reappearance on heavy ground and excuses on both subsequent starts, when caught out by quicker ground and a longer trip respectively. Slots into this perfectly.

Next Best

Ibtahaj (9.05 Kempton) Just a matter of whether he can back up last week's emphatic C&D win, as his penalty in no way measures how much he had in hand of his rating.

Where The Money's Going

Nathaniel is in big demand for the Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on Saturday, now 5-1 from 9-1 with the sponsors.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Mario Balotelli in action during his Liverpool debut
football ...but he can't get on the scoresheet in impressive debut
Environment
Pigeons have been found with traces of cocaine and painkillers in their system
environmentCan species be 'de-extincted'?
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
A Pilgrim’s Progress is described by its publisher as “the one-and-only definitive record” of David Hockney's life and works
people
Sport
Loic Remy signs for Chelsea
footballBlues wrap up deal on the eve of the transfer window
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker
TV
Life and Style
Instagram daredevils get thousands of followers
techMeet the daredevil photographers redefining urban exploration with death-defying stunts
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'
TVDaughter says contestant was manipulated 'to boost ratings'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teacher - Hull

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are recruiting for spe...

Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking EY...

Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: NEWLY QUALIFIED TEACHER WE CAN HELP ...

Lead FE Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, jQuery, Knockout)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead FE Softwa...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor