The full throated roar in stereo from An Tain and across to Joe’s through the St. Patrick’s Day crowd in the Square confirmed with beaming smiles to many that Flooring Porter had been victorious in the famous Cotswolds Mecca of National Hunt Racing.
The Flooring Porter story started in spring 2018 when a group of lifelong racing fans spotted a young horse for sale on a Facebook ad. The four-man syndicate of Edward Hogarty, Kerrill Creaven, Alan and Tommy Sweeney of South Roscommon extraction bought him from trainer Gavin Cromwell for €5,000 after going to view two different horses.
Our superhero horse name came about because Hogarty owns a local flooring business in Woodmount and Creaven and Alan Sweeney owned the local Birchgrove Pub at the time. The iconic black and white jockey colours represent a pint of porter.
In 2021, the mount was backed 12/1 to win the Paddy Power Stayers Hurdle in Cheltenham. And after an impeccably judged front-running ride by Danny Mullins, Porter romped home.
The victory caused outright jubilation around the area, says Edward Hogarty: "The feeling after Porter crossed the line in Cheltenham was of sheer joy for the whole parish, never mind just the syndicate members and our families. No one expected it and everyone benefitted from his victory. It’s unbelievable, the amount of people that come into our shops and tell me that Flooring Porters winnings are paying for their paint, rugs, or their flooring. So many local people have benefitted from it and it’s really great to see,” he added.
"From lifelong racing fans sitting at home watching races, to having your own horse crossing the finish line first in a grade one race, it really is an unbelievable feeling," says Ed.
He will go down in history books for being one of the only horses to win the Stayers Hurdle twice in a row!
Seldom has a victory been celebrated so wildly at the festival or at home. Ed said: "I have three beautiful children, but Thursday was definitely the best day of my life. It was incredible.”
"We came back to Joe's in Ballinasloe on Friday and the publican there told us he hadn't seen scenes like it since Italia '90! I'm only 39 and won't be 40 until May, but I've already had my two hips replaced. These have been the best few days of my life. I'll never forget them."
When asked did they clear a million from the bookies he laughed “ We had a few quid on all right, but we definitely didn't win a million!" states Edward.
He said: "It's amazing to see what Flooring Porter has done for the four of us. He's shown that syndicates can have success on the biggest stage and you don't need to be a multimillionaire to own a racehorse. And, the craic is mighty too!"
Mountbellew might have their Bobby Joe – but Ballinasloe is getting mighty fond of Flooring Porter!
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