Magheralin horse in race for Cheltenham

Banbridge jockey Mark O'Hare with Michael Lynch former owner of Battle Over Doyen
Banbridge jockey Mark O'Hare with Michael Lynch former owner of Battle Over Doyen

Horse racing and farming have been in the Lynch family from Magheralin’s blood for generations and now they are on tenterhooks as one of their previous horses edges towards Cheltenham.

Battleoverdoyen was a mere six months old when Michael Lynch bought him for the not inconsiderable sum of £6,000 but he has a good eye for bloodstock.

His dad Hugh reared Charolais cattle on the family farm and Michael was in the thick of it most of his 58 years.

But it’s horse racing that gets the Lynch blood pumping and when he spotted a foal at Colm and Caroline Berry’s field near Laurencetown in 2013, the race was on to fill the stables.

Soon after buying a foal from that Laurencetown farm, they spotted another from a stud in Dublin called Battleoverdoyen.

When Doyen was a two-year-old they sent him to respected horseman Arthur Hanley to break him in. Then to handler Gerry Cosgrave to get the horse ready for his first point to point race.

Thrills abounded when his black and red colours were chosen and on April 17, 2017, Battleoverdoyen won his first race at Loughanmore with jockey Mark O’Hare.

Michael recalls his phone never stopped on the way home and the next day the cream of racing were looking to buy the winner.

He decided to go to the prestigious Tattersalls sales in Cheltenham the following week and the horse, was set at a reserve for £150,000.

After a buzzing sales ring it sold to the powerhouse Gigginstown stud, owned by the O’Leary’s of Ryanair fame, for a whopping £235,000.

Michael recalls it wasn’t about the money. He has been a punter all his life and dreamed of owning a superstar.

For him it was about seeing a stud which could develop his horse into a future star.

Describing Battleoverdoyen’s style, Michael believes it is all in his stride. He recalled the thoroughbred, who is 17 hands tall, at a point to point. “He was third last and they thought that was it. But that is his style of running. He canters but he has a big stride and can cover half as much ground again as most horses.”

Battleoverdoyen is now entered to the prestigious Dublin Festival of racing on February 2 at Leopardstown and, soon after, Cheltenham.

Will he be a future Gold Cup winner?

It appears Battleoverdoyen is going for the Ballymore Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham and is 11-2 2nd favourite with local firm Toals.