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Macs Legend Tetratema Cup bound following Thurles victory

A psychiatric nurse by night, and a trainer by day, Gerry Kelleher couldn't have wished for better when he acquired Macs Legend back in January 2018 for a minimal sum.

"He is a great servant, it's a dream really. Even around Macroom, there was a lot of people had their fiver-each-way, and he's a local legend if you like!" said Kelleher.
 
"You would be walking around town, and people would be asking you how's Macs Legend, and when is he running again. It's an amazing story, the way it played out.
 
"We bought him out of a field on January 8th 2018. He had run well over hurdles, he had a decent mark of about 112, we picked him up for €500.
 
"There's four of us involved in him, he runs in Shane Prendeville's name, his father John, and my brother Michael."
 
Prendeville's father John rides out at the Kelleher yard, and he is the only person who rides out Macs Legend at the yard.
 
"John rides him out every day, nobody else rides out the horse only John. John worked in a factory in Macroom for years and he retired from there last year.

"John worked for the Costello's years ago, and he moved to Macroom working for Fergie Sutherland, this is going back almost 35 years ago.
 
"He used always keep a point-to-pointer, and he approached us last year and we trained a mare for him. He used to ride her out himself every morning."
 
 
The son of Blueprint has been a model of consistency since his debut run for the Kelleher's, where he won at Ballynoe back in March 2018, just two months after he was bought.
 
"He won his maiden at Ballynoe on his first start in March. John Barry rode him that day, and I asked John after would he have a chance at the hunter chase in Mallow, and he said that he would run well in it. He finished second in it to Oscar Contender, we were only beaten half a length.
 
"After that, we went to Tramore, where he won his hunter chase.
 
"Then we went to Tipperary, where he finished sixth. The week after we went to Downpatrick, I didn't even go myself, and he won his second hunter chase there!
 
"We were going in all the big hunter chases with him last year, and they're hard to win. He ran respectable in all of them. He finished fourth in the champion hunter chase at Punchestown last year."
 
The admirable 12-year-old started his campaign this season on a great note, where he finished second to the Shark Hanlon-trained Mighty Stowaway at Kinsale.
 
"He came back then this year, and we ran him in Kinsale where he needed the run. He was beaten two-and-a-half lengths by Mighty Stowaway, he won two novice rider races after that, at Dromahane and Ballindenisk."
 
Last Thursday's Hunter Chase at Thurles saw a quality field of 11 runners go to post, and it was Kelleher's charge that came out on top in the testing conditions.
 
"I just thought that the downhill finish at Thurles would suit him.
 
"I entered him for Thurles, and my brother told me to make sure that I entered him for Kildorrery as well.
 
"On purpose I didn't enter him. I had looked at the entries for Thurles, and I looked at the form. I thought to myself that we finished second to Mighty Stowaway when we needed the run, we had beaten Ucello Conti already this year in Ballindenisk, and I looked at the northern horse who had won a maiden hunter chase, but there is a big step up from a maiden to a winners'.
 
"The entries came out on Tuesday for Kildorrery, and there was war in the camp! I knew if I did put him in for Kildorrery, we wouldn't have gone to Thurles.
 
"Michael O'Sullivan gave him a great ride, the two in front went flat to the board.
 
"The plan from here now is to enter him in the Tetratema. He is back cantering tomorrow, and all going well, we will go to Gowran on Saturday week."
 
Kelleher also explained that he has some excellent facilities, both at his home place, as well as around the locality, where he attends a number of places to work his horses.
 
"We have our own gallop, but as I always say, if you race on grass, you work on grass. I have three very good local farmers. Jack Murphy who has the point-to-point track in Aghabullogue, we do most of our work out there.
 
"Francis Horgan is another chap there, we actually call his gallop Ballydoyle! It is a six-furlong hill gallop, a beautiful gallop where we would do all of our serious work on a Thursday.
 
"We have a six furlong circular grass gallop as well to use down at John O'Leary's place.
 
"They all welcome us in, there is never a problem, and they are great." 
 
Kelleher is a very firm believer in old training methods, with particular emphasis on loose schooling in his sand ring.
 
"We loose-school all of our horses. We would very rarely have someone riding a horse while they are being schooled. We would go to Glencairn alright with a few young horses.
 
"All of our horses are great leapers, nobody rides them, we loose-school them all, and they become great leapers out of it."
 
The Macroom-based handler has also got some new owners recently, which he is delighted with.
 
"I'm after getting a syndicate down from Kildare now, and Seamus Kennedy from Tipperary, along with a man from Limerick, and it's great to have new owners in the yard."
 

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