Ballylinch hopes to follow on in the hoofprints of Sassafras and Kings Theatre.

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Mount Juliet is now home to one of the most well known Hotels and golf courses in Ireland.

The former ancestral home of the well known south Co Kilkenny McCalmont family it was the home of their own Norelands Stud which bred such good horses as Danish, Ace and Power.

The estate is now also home to one of the countries top Studs in the shape of Ballylinch Stud with a roster of five stallions offering a variety of flat , national hunt and dual purpose options.

Managed by John O’Connor the 1000 acre Stud farm is currently home to Beat Hollow, Dream Ahead, Intense Focus, Lawman and Lope De Vega.

Kings Theatre was their flagship stallion until his demise in 2012. Currently at the top of the national hunt stallion listing they have tried to replace him, if that were possible, with another son of Sadler’s Wells in the shape of Beat Hollow.

His dam lines boast a number of quality sires including Oasis Dream, Martaline, Reefscape and Court Cave. They all trace back to that John Oxx Senior mare Sorbus, famously disqualified after winning the Irish Oaks and relegated to second place.

If mares could laugh Sorbus most definitely would as her broodmare record has seen her surpass her race record by all measures.

Beat Hollow is a 17 year old Group 1 winner who has sired Group 1 winners on the flat including Proportional and Beaten Up while Cinders and Ashes a Cheltenham Festival winner is the flag bearer over jumps.

I would suspect that he wont have to many flat winners from his Ballylinch Stud coverings so we will await his national hunt covers with real interest.

Astaire won the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes and is the best son Intense Focus currently to have hit the track. Intense Focus is an 8 year old son of Giants Causeway with a Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes to his name. Trained by Jim Bolger he comes from a line that Bolger has had considerable success with as a breeder including Sholokov, Soldier of Fortune and Napper Tandy.

With 18 individual 2 year old winners they have shown themselves to be tough with a touch of class. Bolger and the equine science industry have been pushing a particular line predicting race course success with this horses progeny. I really dont know enough about that side of the covering sheds, so from my non scientific eye, Intense Focus, offers a nice stallion line with plenty of success to date.

Ballylinch also offer the French bred Group 1 Prix De Jockey Club winner Lawman, with the 10 year old Invincible Spirit horse already the sire of Irish 1000 Guineas winner Just The Judge and Most Improved a St James Palace winner at Royal Ascot.

This dark bay is a really nice stamp of a horse with a race record to match many on the stallion roster in Ireland or England.

For the speedier aficionados amongst us Dream Ahead is offered at the Stud with yearlings on the ground for 2014.

This 6 year old son of Diktat, a five time Group 1 winner at 2 and 3 has a real speed gene in him with his dam being a Flying Childers winner herself with a dam sire influence of Cadeaux Genereux, Green Desert and Star Appeal tracing back to Vaigly Star and Vaigly Great.

While Diktat may not yet be a sire of sires he has a very good record as a stallion and the chances are Dream Ahead could well be his best son at stud.

The final offering at the stud is the French 2000 guineas winner and Prix De Jockey Club winner Lope De Vega. They will be holding their breath in Ballylinch as he will have his first runners in 2014. A 7 year old son of Shamardal Lope De Vega is his best racehorse to date. A winning two year old it will be very interesting to see if he can sire stock to win as early two year olds himself.

All in all it is a really interesting roster and looks likely to build upon its past record to follow on in the footprints of The Tetrarch , Sassafras and Kings Theatre.

Books are limited here so get in early if you have a suitable mare.

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