Special Sporting Moment as Moss Tucker Wins G1 Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Flying Five

September 13, 2023

Doanl Spring leads Moss Tucker and jockey Billy Lee into the winner’s enclosure at The Curragh. (Photo By Breandán Ó hUallacháin)

By Breandán Ó hUallacháin

THE CURRAGH, KILDARE, Ireland—Moss Tucker, a horse named in honour of two Irish sporting heroes became a hero himself in winning the Group 1 Al Basti, Equiworld Dubai Flying Five at The Curragh on Sunday.

Trained by Ken Condon near The Curragh Racecourse, Moss Tucker is named in memory of two former, and now deceased, Munster Rugby players, Moss Keane and Colm Tucker. The five-year-old colt is owned by the Charlie Bit Me Syndicate which is headed by Donal Spring, a former Ireland rugby international and member of the Munster rugby team that shocked the New Zealand All Blacks when defeating them at Musgrave Park in Cork in 1978. Spring is a former teammate of Moss Keane and Colm Tucker.

The Billy Lee-ridden son of Excelebration, Moss Tucker, upset the odds at 16/1 when taking the first Group 1 of day two of the Irish Champions Festival, and a first prize of €236,000, as the race was expected to go for export due to the strong British challenge.

England-based Irishman John Quinn was back with last year’s winner Highfield Princess, who started the 2023 renewal of the race as the even-money favourite. The filly came under early pressure during the five-furlong contest and never looked as she should would repeat last year’s heroics. She eventually crossed the winning line in fifth position.

Moss Tucker, winner of the Group 3 Rathasker Stud Phoenix Sprint Stakes over six furlongs at The Curragh on his most recent run is now an eight-time career winner, though the Al Basti, Equiworld Dubai Flying Five was only his second attempt in Group 1 company.

A regular cross-channel runner and winner at The Curragh, Art Power, cut out the running with some of the other visitors Bradsell, Highfield Princess and Equality prominent in the early stages of the race. 

Eventual winner Moss Tucker followed the line of Charlie Hills’ horse Equality during the race. With the field dividing into two groups two furlongs out, Billy Lee still looked comfortable on Ken Condon’s charge as some of the fancied runners in the betting market came under pressure.

Moss Tucker had enough in reserve to charge through and claim the Group 1 ahead of the son of Showcasing, Get Ahead, ridden by Richard Kingscote for English trainer Clive Cox by half a length. Daniel Muscutt, aboard Equality for another English handler Charlie Hills, claimed a deserved third spot, having been among the early front runners in the race.  

Moss Tucker, named in memory of Moss Keane and Colin Tucker wins the Al Basti, Equiworld Dubai Flying Five. (Photo By Breandán Ó hUallacháin)

A thrilled winning trainer Ken Condon, who won the Irish 2000 Guineas with Romanised in 2018, reacted to the victory by saying:

“He’s just a horse that’s hard to dislike. His honesty, he’s the kind of guy you would want to be going to battle with. He always turns up. We’re having a quite time of it so to have a horse like him that can be competitive in these races, that’s what we all get up for every morning. You don’t expect it, but you want it. You play the cards you’re dealt with every year. This guy is carrying the flag and doing a super job at it.”

Head of the Charlie Bit Me Syndicate, Donal Spring, who also bred the horse, admitted: 

“It is just incredible. There’s two guys looking down at us – Moss Keane and Colm Tucker. He embodies everything that they were about. Pure heart, toughness, give it your all. I’d say he had as much odds today as Munster had of beating the All Blacks, so lightning does strike twice.”

Moss Tucker now gains an automatic berth into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita in November through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In. Can lightning strike three times?

Contributing Authors

Breandán Ó hUallacháin

Breandán Ó hUallacháin writes about Irish, British, French and Australian horseracing, both National Hunt and Flat. He has an interest in the history of racing...

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