Memorial held for late leading breeder Vasicek
Joerg Vasicek (right) and Gerry Ross (centre) with jockey Declan McDonogh after La Collina won the Phoenix Stakes
PICTURE: Caroline Norris Memorial held for late leading breeder Vasicek By Aisling Crowe 9:25PM 4 DEC 2016
A MEMORIAL service will be held at the Hotel Minella in Clonmel on Monday to celebrate the life of noted breeder Joerg Vasicek, who died unexpectedly in October.
Vasicek, who was 74 and owned Kenilworth House Stud just outside Clonmel in County Tipperary with his wife Diana, passed away while on holiday.
The Swiss businessman purchased the property in 1991 to further his love of racing – particularly the jumps code – and under his guidance Kenilworth House Stud became a renowned producer of top-class jumpers.
Gerry Ross, manager of the stud for almost 19 years, paid a heartfelt tribute to his late employer.
"He was an absolute gentleman," Ross said. "He became a friend more than an employer and all the staff here would feel the same way about him. He was a very popular man around the area and was well liked by all the local people. He was a great character."
Vasicek enjoyed all aspects of the jumps scene and loved hunting with the Tipperarys, going to point-to-point meetings to watch his young horses compete and the thrill of seeing horses he bred reach the pinnacle of the sport.
"He liked nothing more than walking through the fields at Kenilworth looking over the horses, checking on them," Ross recalled.
Multiple Grade 1 winner Carlingford Lough is the latest in a long line of star jumpers to reach the highest level after coming through the Vasiceks' celebrated breeding programme.
Winner of the Galway Plate in 2014 for John Kiely and JP McManus, the son of King's Theatre provided Sir Anthony McCoy with his only success in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown, the day after the 20-time British champion jockey announced his retirement.
Carlingford Lough retained his Hennessy crown last February and added the 2016 Punchestown Gold Cup to a CV that now boasts six triumphs at the highest level.
Carlingford Lough is a half-brother to Thisthatandtother, the first of two Cheltenham Festival winners bred by the Vasiceks (Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle winner What A Charm being the other).
Thisthatandtother won the Ryanair Chase (then the Grade 2 Daily Telegraph Chase) in 2005 for Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh.
Also a Grade 1 winner over hurdles, Thisthatandtother is one of three black-type winners bred by the Vasiceks out of Baden, a daughter of Furry Glen – the other being Charlie Hall Chase winner The Tother One.
What A Charm's dam Atalina has also produced Paul Webber's talented hurdler Gwafa, while Colin Tizzard's Theatre Guide is another keeping Kenilworth House in the news.
Vasicek's maroon silks were also carried to victory on the Flat, with Top Trip landing the Group 2 Prix Hocquart at Longchamp and Group 1-winning fillies Termagant and La Collina, both trained by Kevin Prendergast, providing him with memorable days at the Curragh and Leopardstown.
La Collina's colt foal by Shamardal sold for 375,000gns at Tattersalls last month, a result that would have given Vasicek great satisfaction.
"He'd have been as pleased as punch that La Collina's foal sold for that amount," said Ross. "He would have been standing by the ring with his chest puffed out.
"He loved nothing better than going to the sales, meeting people and enjoying the banter – he loved every aspect of it."
The memorial service will start at 2.30pm and will be a celebration of a man who enjoyed life to the full and was loved as a great character.
He is survived by his wife Diana, daughters Caroline and Anita and his wider family and many friends.
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