Citizen Reporter
1 minute read
18 Oct 2017
1:08 pm

Trainers batten down stable hatches as hurricane Ophelia sweeps across Ireland

Citizen Reporter

Trainers in the south were hit hardest although, as the storm swept north.

ONE TO WATCH. Surcharge, ridden by Piere Strydom, looks a top-class performer for owner Ian van Schalkwyk and trainer Stuart Pettigrew. The three-year-old son of Gimmethegreenlight scored his third win in four starts when beating Tokyo Drift by 1.10 lengths. Picture: JC Photographics

Storm Ophelia left more than 360,000 homes and businesses in Ireland without power on Monday, with trainers forced to batten down the hatches in the face of extremely strong winds.

Trainers in the south were hit hardest although, as the storm swept north, most trainers and breeders felt the wrath of what is officially the strongest storm to hit Ireland, which by Monday afternoon had claimed three lives.

Mick Winters, who trains in Kanturk in County Cork, was among those first affected, with gusts off the south coast reaching 109mph.

He said: “We’d ride out in anything but this morning we didn’t ride out because the wind was too high.

“We were half-expecting it because we received plenty of warnings.

“We had most of the horses out yesterday so it wouldn’t be as tough on them standing in all day today.

“You couldn’t even put them on the walker this morning it’s so bad here.

“The wind is very strong and it’s carrying all sorts of stuff in it. You certainly wouldn’t put a cat out in it.”

Winters added: “A horse would be very easily spooked if a bucket came flying across the yard, so we said we’d better be safe than sorry.

“They’re all happy out now eating cooking apples and carrots, but the storm is getting worse as we speak and I hope it doesn’t do too much damage.”

The training grounds at the Curragh were closed from 11am, but racing is scheduled to resume in Ireland today, and Punchestown racecourse manager Richie Galway does not anticipate problems with the track’s two-day meeting.

“We expect to have no issues with regards to holding racing here,” he said. ” –