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Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Horse Profile: Istabraq


Having enjoyed an extensive and unique career, Istabraq is a horse with a hugely impressive history to look back on. A bay-coloured Gelding, Istabraq was brought up as part of the unique stable of the Shadwell Estate, and is owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum and JP McManus.
Across a hurdling masterclass of a career, Istabraq picked up a barely believable three Champion Hurdle wins as well as various different Hurdles, from the Deloitte Novice in ’97 to the Aintree Hurdle in 1999. 
Career Summary

Across a unique and powerful career, the wonderful Irish thoroughbred continued an exceptional increase in popularity and performance. Although originally bred for flats, it was hurdling where Istabraq showed its finest form and, before long, it was being used in this kind of racing.
Sold to John Durkan, it was trained by Durkan before his untimely diagnosis of leukaemia. Instead, it was trained by Aidan O’Brien – sadly, Durkan died before it won the 1998 Irish Champion Hurdle. With its first win at the 1998 Champion Hurdle, it was proclaimed that the win – by Charlie Swan – was for Durkan.

From then on, though, Istabraq became one of the most consistent horses on the circuit. From 1997-2002, it was a dominant force on the circuit, with titles coming at the December Festival and the Irish Champion Hurdle in the new millennium. Sadly, it had to retire after pulling back muscles and never being able to return to previous levels.

Today, it lives at Martinstown with JP McManus, it’s long-time owner. 
Achievements & Highlights

Wins – Champion Hurdle (1998, 1999, 2000), Irish Champion Hurdle (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001), Aintree Hurdle (1999). 
Associations – JP McManus, John Durkan, Aidan O’Brien, Charlie Swan. 
Earnings – £1m+.


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