THEY may be known as the Come Home Sober syndicate but the same 12-strong group from County Limerick have enjoyed two heavy nights out on the town in Dublin after their horse won, not once, but twice, at the famous Leopardstown festival.
The bubbly was cracked open first on St Stephen’s Day when the Charles Byrnes-trained Sea Light romped to victory in the handicap hurdle.
The race in question was sponsored by Copper Face Jacks – a favourite haunt in the capital for off-duty gardai – and, fittingly, two of the Come Home Sober syndicate are men in blue.
“We were delirious when he passed the post,” explained Robert Young, a Kilmallock-based garda from Newcastle West
The syndicate also includes Garda Jerry Scanlon from Mayorstone garda station, four accountants - “well placed to work out the odds” - two shopkeepers, one car sales person, one AI [artificial insemination] technician and two bar workers.
The horse opened up at around 4/1 in the morning and he returned at 7/4 favourite.
“We thought he would enjoy the trip and the ground. He came out of Thurles well. The ground is key to him,” continued Robert.
Sea Light - which was named by head of the syndicate, Tom O’Gorman of O’Gorman’s shop in Granagh – toyed with his rivals in the hands of Davy Russell and coasted ahead before the final flight to beat Beneficial Spirit with lots in hand.
In doing so, he landed Davy his 1000th winner on the track.
Around 20 people from across Limerick associated with the horse made the trip to Leopardstown for the festival. The winning connections hail from Granagh, Bruree, Castlemahon, Croom and Newcastle West.
And the winning streak continued for the Come Home Sober syndicate – the name comes courtesy of John Young of Castlemahon - when Sea Light, which was purchased in Goffs two years ago, came good with another win on Sunday making him the only horse to win twice in Leopardstown this year.
“It wasn’t decided to run him until Saturday night until we knew the ground conditions. The horse was in good form,” Robert explained.
“We were delighted with his running again on Sunday. He did better than expected. We weren’t sure how he would be three days after the other race.”
Of the horse’s temperament he commented: “He was a bit coltish to start off - it took a long time for him to settle. He is still a bit excitable - there is a spark in him.”
And thanks to Sea Light’s spark, the Christmas celebrations are continuing for the winning connections across the county who have been toasting his success in watering holes including The Villager in Castlemahon, Fitzgerald’s in Newcastle West, The Rock Bar in Granagh, Moore’s bar in Carrigkerry and Scanlan’s shop in Newcastle West.