BEHIND THE SCENES IN IRELAND: Bust Out team chasing Champion Hurdle dream.
THE Leopardstown winner's enclosure was swamped by celebrating syndicate members on numerous occasions last week, but there was no happier group of owners at the meeting than the nine-strong BB Horse Racing Club, and a host of their relatives and supporters, who thronged the
runners-up berth after their pride and joy, Bust Out, had given the mighty Istabraq a real fright before losing out by only a head in Saturday's Tote December Festival Hurdle.
The group, whittled down from an original 20 or so, has been in existence for about eight years, and takes its name from the Black Bush Golf Club, located near the County Meath town of Dunshaughlin, where all nine are members.
Bust Out, who has won four of his nine races and finished out of the money only once, is the second horse the syndicate has had with Jessica Harrington after a successful initial venture with Miss Orchestra, who gave them a day to savour when winning the 1998 Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter.
Aidan Burns, manager of Skerries Golf Club in the north of County Dublin, is the spokesman for the enthusiastic group, who had been encouraged by Harrington to believe that Bust Out would run a good race against the three-time Champion Hurdle winner.
Burns says: "Jessica knew that he was in great form, and she felt he would be second, though I don't believe any of us dreamt that he could go so close, especially when he was hampered by Liss A Paoraigh's fall.
"I don't know how Barry Geraghty stayed on him. If he had been unseated we certainly wouldn't have blamed him. It's been a great thrill to have been part of the occasion."
The enormity of forcing a
photo-finish with one of the legends of jumps racing sunk in after the race when Aidan O'Brien took time out from the media scrum to speak to Burns and congratulate him on Bust Out's display.
Members of the group now hope Bust Out will tackle the AIG Europe Champion Hurdle en route to the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Burns says: "It would be a dream come true for us to line up in the Champion, and that's the target. He'll come back to Leopardstown for the AIG Europe Champion Hurdle first. The Pierse Hurdle is tempting, but Jessica thinks that it could come too soon for him."
The next task facing the syndicate is the naming of its three-year-old by Presenting, already in training with Harrington and set to make a first appearance in a bumper in the spring.
Burns says: "We sit down and throw a few names around and have a vote. I suppose our two previous horses haven't exactly been that excitingly named, but Bust Out is not too bad for Bustino out of Nordic Beauty."
Harrington is as enthusiastic about her owners as they are about her ability as a trainer. She says: "You couldn't wish for a better bunch, and most importantly they seem to be lucky as well."
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|Publication:||The Racing Post (London, England)|
|Date:||Dec 31, 2001|
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