One of the key owning family in jump racing, The Rooney's, have decided to end their interest in national hunt racing and focusing on acquiring horses for the flat in what ends an up and down relationship between the owners and the sport.
One of the most well know couple's in the sport have had some big success with their jumps horses with the two most recognisable accomplishments being Willoughby Court taking the 2017 Neptune (now Ballymore) Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham, and in 2016 when Last Samuri finished second in the Grand National.
The owners have never been a pair to go under the radar and in 2018 instructed all trainers that had horses under their ownership to not be supplemented at Cheltenham due to safety issues for the horses, but this was later changed and their horses could race at Prestbury Park again.
(Credit Racing Post) The Rooneys' racing manager Jason Maguire said: “It wasn't totally out of the blue – they've obviously had a think about it and decided just to concentrate on Flat horses.
"They've had good times with jumps horses but they've also enjoyed good times on the Flat too, starting with My Dream Boat winning the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2016, and they have just decided to concentrate their energies on Flat racing.”
He added: “The Flat horses have been doing well for them in recent years. Good Vibes is a nice filly who won the Cornwallis Stakes last year for David Evans. Crack On Crack On was a good horse who went on to Hong Kong, Alright Sunshine has done very well for them, and there was also the filly I'll Have Another who they had with Mark Johnston and was sold as a broodmare.”
The Rooney's still have many stars on the flat that will have to be sold with their 2019 Stayers Hurdle winner at Aintree, If The Cap Fits, already been sold and other stars like Get In The Queue and Winningseverything set to also be relocated.
Maguire does not think thee will be any difficulty selling the string and explained: “Hopefully the racing situation sorts itself out, and they are good horses they will be selling.
"They will be giving trainers time to get them away and get them sold, and hopefully the trainers will be able to hang on to them, we will be trying to do right by them.”He added: “It should be an exciting time and we will be putting all of our energies into continuing success with Flat horses.”