PODCAST: ‘It was fairytale stuff buying the two winners on the same day,’ says Nallen

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John Nallen shares why he feels Tipperary has created some of the best horses and trainers in the world

Tipperary is rightly famous worldwide for its love of horse racing and rich breeding and racing heritage.

We have a great example of that heritage and training skill in John Nallen from Minella Racing in Clonmel.

John shares why he feels Tipperary has created some of the best horses and trainers in the world and why the Premier County is such a magical destination for horse racing fans on the new Inside Tipp Podcast from Tipperary Tourism.

John talks on the Inside Tipp podcast about the special year he has just had with Minella Times winning the Aintree Grand National and made even more special by having the horse ridden into the history books by Tipperary’s Rachel Blackmore.

This meant a unique double for Minella Racing as Minella Indo had won the Cheltenham Gold Cup just a few weeks before.

Reflecting on the great year Minella Racing have had, John said: “We are at it all our lives. We are a third generation racing family and I suppose all the boats came in together this year and we had just unbelievable success.

“It was fairytale stuff buying the two winners on the same day and bringing them home to our yard and they produce the goods on the biggest stages of all. It was just unbelievable stuff and to be able to do it for the McManus family was great because they are great supporters for the horseracing industry.”

When asked what makes Tipperary so prominent in the breeding and training of horses John said: “It is the limestone land, the environment and horse people handling them that know what they are doing.

“I mean, over at Lavally (his training ground) we had a Gold Cup winner and a Grand National winner, and in the field next door to us the O’Dwyers had Rock on Ruby who is a Champion Hurdler.

“In two hundred yards along a small country road in Tipperary, you have a Gold Cup, Grand National and Champion Hurdler after coming out of two fields. It is amazing.”

Listen to the podcast below: 

The great wins of Minella Times and Minella Indo have put a spotlight on Tipperary’s racing heritage making this a wonderful opportunity to showcase the huge potential for equestrian tourism in Tipperary. There are few places in the world with the breeding, racing expertise and tradition as in Tipperary.

The industry is said to provide over 2,500 jobs in the county with some of the most iconic studs and training establishments in the world. The most notable stud farm is Coolmore, owned and operated by the Magnier family, which is the world’s largest breeding operation of thoroughbred racehorses.

There are over 80 trainers located in Tipperary, representing 14% of registered trainers in Ireland. The largest racing operation is run by leading trainer Aidan O’Brien at the famous Ballydoyle yard, who has trained multiple Group 1 and Classic winners both in Ireland and overseas.

The county is a playground for horse racing fans with three popular racecourses in Clonmel, Tipperary and Thurles.

John talked on the podcast about the importance of the traditional point-to-point meetings for upcoming horses and the thrill for racing fans being able to see some of Ireland’s finest young horses up close. He likened it to seeing Messi play for a local club before being signed to Barcelona.

“There is such a buzz there that you could bag it,” he added.

Tipperary is now looking to exploit this potential of the county’s rich horse culture and heritage that stretches back over 2,000 years. The Fethard Horse Country Experience is a welcome addition to Tipperary’s tourist offering and should be on the bucket list for all tourists when visiting the county and horse fans within the county too.

The state-of-the-art museum has some wonderful exhibits detailing Tipperary’s horse heritage and celebrates our county’s amazing dominance of global horse racing including Michael “Mouse” Morris’ 2006 Cheltenham Gold Cup and Joseph O’Brien’s 2017 Melbourne Cup on show at the museum.

A popular attraction is the skeleton of Sadler’s Wells, one of the most successful stallions in racing history and the horse that did most to establish Coolmore Stud as a world-famous breeding facility.

The museum is also now offering limited visitor trips to Coolmore over the summer, and I would highly recommend this to all lovers of sport.

It is an unforgettable experience to see the operations in excellence of a world leader in sport up close.
John Nallen also shares his favourite hidden gems in Tipperary including the lost village of Glenary in the Comeragh Mountains and the stunning scenic drive from Clonmel through Ardfinnan and Clogheen all the way up to the Vee in the Knockmealdown Mountains.

A road trip where you go past the most wonderful pink rhododendrons that fill the mountain sides until you get to the Vee’s panoramic viewing point where you can see the Galtees, Knockmealdowns, Comeraghs and Slievenamon.

The Inside Tipp Podcast interviews interesting Tipperary people with great stories that showcase the beauty and unspoilt uniqueness of Tipperary from Lough Derg in the north down to the Suir Valley in the south.

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