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Our Lady's Belmullet Schoolboys Beat the Bloodstock Giants!

Four students from Our Lady's Secondary School, Belmullet, Co. Mayo have taken on and beaten the giants of Irish bloodstock in the white heat of the thoroughbred sales.

The spectacular coup began as a Transition Year project and ended last week in the auction ring at the prestige Tattersalls yearling sales at Fairyhouse.

Pictured above the four students of Our Lady's Secondary School, Belmullet with Tom Kevon. 

Patrick Lavelle, Patrick Reilly and David Dixon, all 16, founded Erris Bloodstock as their Transition Year mini company project in Our Lady’s Secondary School, Belmullet, Co Mayo.

They were later joined by Patrick Lavelle’s 14-year-old brother Sean in their bloodstock adventure. The idea was to buy two foals at Goffs’ November Breeding Sale and prepare them for sale as yearlings — a practice known as pinhooking.

The boys sunk their life savings into the project, spending €6,300 on two filly foals. They even gave the foals the pet names ‘Renaissance’ and ‘Frisky’ and brought them home to the Erris peninsula to be reared on family farms. And on Thursday the two thoroughbreds, which thrived under the boys’ gentle care, were sold for €21,500 — a clear €12,000 profit after feed and others costs were deducted.

“We are delighted. A lot of people were interested in the fillies but we didn’t expect ‘Renaissance’ who is out of ‘Fast Company’ to make so much. The four of us went up to Tattersalls and we were as nervous as the horses. We got more anxious as the day went on,” Patrick Lavelle revealed.

‘Renaissance’ was bought for €16,500 to race in Saudi Arabia. Joe Foley of Ballyhane Stud bought their second filly ‘Frisky’ a daughter of ‘Dandy Man’, for €5,000.

“Joe loved her since she was a foal. We emailed him a picture of her and he loved the look of her. We expected her to make a lower price than the ‘Fast Company’ filly but we are very happy with the result,” he added. They bought ‘Frisky ‘privately for €1,800 after the Goffs’ sale.

The Lavelle brothers interest in racing stems from their father who has horses in training with David Marnane. The trainer was a great source of help to them, advising them and taking the fillies in August for their final preparations. David Marnane was brilliant and Peter Kelly of Emerald Bloodstock was a great help picking the foals.

“John Osborne of the Irish National Stud helped enormously, taking us on a tour of the stud, advising us and showing the fillies to as many people as possible at the sales,” he says of the advice they received.

They plan to develop their business and are hoping to reinvest the profit in one or two more foals in the upcoming Goffs’ sale.

(Article and photo courtesy of the Sunday Independent).