Oliver Townend’s 2015 European Championships ride Fenyas Elegance is to be retired to stud after collecting a departing win at Ballindenisk’s CIC3* (14-18 September).
The 12-year-old mare’s owner-breeder, Irishman PJ Hegarty, said the home victory had presented the ideal opportunity for her to go out on a high.
“We hadn’t precisely planned her retirement until she had actually won, as we weren’t too sure if we were looking at Pau or Boekelo towards the back end of the season,” he said.
“It’s not often with event horses that you can plan their retirement or have them go out on a winning note like this. She’s had a fantastic career eventing, we wanted her to retire sound and we’ve achieved all of those things.”
A daughter of Ricardo Z out of the Hegartys’ Good Thyne mare Fenya, “Ellie” began her career with a superb track record in the show ring, taking champion filly foal titles at both Dublin and All Ireland.
In her eventing career she collected wins at Blenheim and Bramham CCI3*s with Ireland’s Aoife Clark before the ride passed on to Oliver Townend in May 2015.
They launched their partnership with a third at Saumur CCI3*, and finished 17th at the European Championships at Blair.
Ellie was the first event horse PJ has campaigned to a serious level as his primary interest remains in breeding.
“She took us to the top. It was a fantastic introduction, we’ve got to know England and made many new friends,” he said.
“Gatcombe was one event we thoroughly enjoyed and we had the honour of meeting the Princess Royal there on a couple of occasions.”
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Breeding from the mare has always been in the pipeline, and initial attempts were made in May this year.
“With her training she wasn’t cycling properly and it wasn’t working out so we forgot about it,” PJ said, adding that while they hadn’t yet chosen a stallion for her for 2017, it would be “something blood, proven and with high performance”.
The Hegartys still have Ellie’s dam Fenya at their county Cork stud, as well as a six-year-old full brother who is likely to start eventing next year.