• Ballymore returns to Cheltenham as Sean Mulryan and Michael O’Leary celebrate a triumphant victory of Irish sport
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Ballymore returns to Cheltenham as Sean Mulryan and Michael O’Leary celebrate a triumphant victory of Irish sport

After a decade-long break, Ballymore made a return to Cheltenham last month, sponsoring the Ballymore Novices Hurdle; here our Chairman and Group CEO Sean Mulryan reflects on a great day for racing – and for two prominent Irish businessmen.

An old favourite was back in saddle at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival – with the return of the Ballymore-sponsored Novices Hurdle.

A prominent fixture on Ladies Day, the Ballymore Hurdle was one of the Festival highlights thanks to a fantastic race won by favourite Samcro; the victorious gelding is owned by Ryanair founder Michael O’Leary and fought off close competition from second place runner Black Op.

The winners presentation later that day saw the trophy passed from one Irish entrepreneur to another, as Sean Mulryan presented Mr O’Leary with his prize; the prominent Irish businessmen celebrating a triumphant victory of Irish sport.

Mr Mulryan said: “It was quite wonderful to see Samcro win as it put two great Irish brands in the headlines. I felt honoured to present Michael with his trophy.”

Ballymore has a longstanding affinity with horse racing, last sponsoring Cheltenham between 2007 and 2009, while devotee Sean Mulryan has been attending the event for more than 40 years.

He added: “The Cheltenham Festival is the pinnacle of the jump racing season and it was fantastic to introduce our brand back into the sport in one of the biggest events of 2018. It was always our intention to get back in the saddle and I am delighted we were able to do it during such a prominent and exciting race.”

Samcro has since been hailed as the “new Messiah of Irish racing” – living up to the pre-race hype which had tipped him for the win.

The Ballymore Novices Hurdle will be back on the Cheltenham fixture list in 2019.

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