Ballycrystal became our third winner in the last five days when Becky Smith steered him to a six lengths victory at Newcastle on Saturday afternoon. In his younger days Ballycrystal looked as if he could have gone all the way to the top, but unfortunately a stop and start career beset by injury put paid to that. At his peak he was rated 130, back in April 2018. He joined us in the autumn of 2019, where after a series of unplaced efforts, saw his mark reduce to 112. It has taken 17 months, and nine races to get him back into the winners enclosure from a mark which had dropped to just 93. If able to build on this success, he remains very well handicapped.
Congratulations to the connections, A & S Associates.
This article first appeared on the website in August 2020.
BALLYCRYSTAL. 01 April 2011. Oscar-Musical Madam. Owner A & S Associates.
Ballycrystal's breeding does send out mixed messages, there is plenty of stamina on the sire's side, with him being by the prolific sire of jumpers, Oscar, but he is out of an unraced mare, from an immediate family of sprinters, but to be fair, Ballycrystal has already proven that stamina is not an issue.He has raced 21 times to date, in four different disciplines, winning in each code.
He started his career in the point to point field in Ireland, in February 2015,he raced in points, on three occasions, winning at the third time of asking, at Tinahly, in October 2015.
Ballycrystal was put in to training with Brian Ellison in Malton, finishing third in a bumper at Musselburgh, in February 2016, before getting off the mark 16 days later at Doncaster. After his summer brake he made a winning debut over hurdles at Sedgefield, in October, and then backed that up in better company at Doncaster, by finishing second under a penalty. He won his second hurdle race at odds of 2/5 at Newcastle in December, earning an official rating of 130.He raced twice more in that season, in February, and March 2017, but unfortunately bled on both occasions.
Ballycrystal was given a break, and when returning in a hot novice, for his chase debut at Sedgefield, in October 2017, proved he was as good as ever by finishing second.He was then a very respectable third in a Grade 2 novice chase at Doncaster, before at the forth attempt over fences, at Carlisle in March 2018, he got off the mark, matching his hurdles rating in the eyes of the handicapper, by retaining his mark of 130.That was as good as it got, as in four more races between April, to November, he couldn't get competitive.He was given wind surgery, but in two further runs in February, and March 2019, he continued to struggle.
Ballycrystal changed ownership, and joined us at Oakwood Stables for the start of the 2019-2020 season, and to date has raced in three hurdle races.He pulled up at Sedgefield over three miles, and three furlongs, which was probably too far for him,before plugging on at Market Rasen, to finish an 18 length forth on Boxing Day.His latest start was back at Sedgefield in March, when never getting competitive, trailing in some 26 lengths behind the winner. Ballycrystal has dropped to a mark that makes him eligible for a 0-100, so if he can get back to anywhere near his best, he is an exceptionally well handicapped horse.
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