By Helen Sharp
Photography: Laurence Dunne, Tadgh Ryan
Co. Waterford’s Meabh Bolger of sale-topping MBF Sporthorses eloquently discusses sales success and the particular influence of the Thoroughbred mare, sharing her in-depth knowledge in an incredibly refreshing way. She has her own opinions about what constitutes a good horse and those opinions are not led by fashion or fear.
Success is fast becoming the word synonymous across the board with MBF. Their thoughtful approach, alongside an exceptional ability in producing young horses, is reflected in her and husband Brian Flynn’s ongoing success with MBF Sporthorses. Meabh has evented for Ireland at Nations Cup level, and MBF is already an industry leader, despite the business being only a few years old.
Regularly commanding the top sales prices, 2021 was no exception and saw MBF achieve the highest price for a three-year-old at the Goresbridge Go for Gold sale. The well-documented hammer-fall was for MBF Stardust by Sligo Candy Boy out of their Terimon mare, achieving €82,000 and selling to US buyers. MBF also achieved the second top lot with MBF Major Lazer by Emir R, sold to the UK for €79,000.
Although Meabh and Brian buy most of their stock as foals, they have a small breeding operation at home. Heading up the band of just three broodmares is MBF Stardust’s dam, Monalease, a Thoroughbred mare bred in Britain by Judy Wilson and who is the dam of successful CCI3*-L Chincalese Cowboy. Monalease has produced some exceptional offspring, and it is this female Thoroughbred influence that fires up my conversation with Meabh as I try to get to the heart of what makes the maternal as opposed to the paternal Thoroughbred influence so impactful.
Meabh bought Monalease as a 17-year-old (now 23), and they have had four foals from her. Monalease is the daughter of Group 1 winner Terimon out of a Strong Gale mare. She has two point-to-point winning siblings, and without doubt, brings along the family jump within her DNA.
“A thoroughbred dam brings blood to paper,” Meabh explains. For MBF, this means not just percentage blood in the book but a blood model. “To be honest, I don’t care what’s on paper, though people do look for it in print. But I prefer to look at the horse standing in front of me. You can sit on something 100% blood, and it can be awful or sit on one with only 20% blood on its page that has the real heart for it. It’s about the blood in the brain.”
When I press Meabh more on the question of why she prefers the Thoroughbred on the dam side, she is honest: “I can only say what we have seen, but when the Thoroughbred has been on the sire side there is often not enough jump and the temperament tends to be not as good. When the Thoroughbred is on the dam’s side, the traits come down completely differently and much more positively.”.. To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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