Airlie Beach’s tryst with the gelding packing a surprise

Miguel Angel (left) and Airlie Beach (right) flank their son

Closutton the scene of an x-rated equine tryst
By Zoe Vicarage 3:36PM 4 DEC 2016

Originally published in Racing Post Bloodstock on July 25

WILLIE MULLINS' Closutton Stables: the dominant jumps operation of our age, academy of numerous outstanding hurdlers and chasers, hallowed ground for turf enthusiasts. To that we might now add: scene of an x-rated equine tryst, the ramifications of which Jeremy Kyle would have a field day with.

The story begins in France in November 2011 when Mullins' regular buyer Harold Kirk snapped up Miguel Angel as a yearling for €25,000. Shipped back to Ireland, the son of Enrique, believed to have been gelded, was placed in a field with a number of fillies including Airlie Beach.

As it turned out, Miguel Angel was still very much in possession of his reproductive organs and at some point during the spring of his two-year-old season his ardour got the better of him and he covered Airlie Beach, who at the time would also have been shy of her actual second birthday.

Mullins' amateur rider son Patrick takes up the tale, saying: "Miguel Angel was never checked and we just threw him out with our homebreds. We thought Airlie Beach looked a little large a few months later so we had her checked and by then it was too late to abort the pregnancy. So we had to follow through with it."

Luckily, Miguel Angel did not choose as his target a mare who shares too many recent ancestors, and the closest inbreeding the mating creates is 4×3 to Alleged.

Airlie Beach produced a colt foal when she was just three and, despite what could have been a traumatic experience for a young filly, she clearly has not been too damaged by Miguel Angel's antics. She is now unbeaten in two starts, winning a Kilbeggan maiden hurdle by a wide margin this month.

"It just put her back a year in her training, that's all, so she was a year behind the rest of her class," Mullins explains. "She's run twice and won twice so it doesn't seem to have affected her ability at all."

The young Don Juan, Miguel Angel, won at Tramore last month but does not appear to be one of his stable's stars, having finished third in a novice hurdle at Ballinrobe on Tuesday.

[Editor's note: Airlie Beach has now won seven on the trot, while Miguel Angel has made one more start, finishing fifth at Sligo in August.]

Mullins doesn't rule out the possibility of the parents running against each other in the future and perhaps, one day, all three members of the family running on the same day.

"It would be great if the son could win as well – he's a three-year-old and has been broken in now," he says. "The sire and dam are quiet rides but the son has dropped several people – he definitely has a mischievous side!

"It is next year's project for Willie – to get him to win at some point to complete the family hat-trick."

Patrick adds that the son of Miguel Angel is for sale for anyone wanting "a collector's item". If talk-show host and keen racehorse owner Kyle were looking to expand his string, this would surely be one for him.

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