After run of success, has the Trowel's luck finally run out?
THE question on everyone's lips as Sean Deane and Ger O'Brien led Quevega after her fourth successive Cheltenham win was: 'How do they do it?'
The Hammer and Trowel were once again the toast of Cheltenham. But the jovial mood was less apparent than previous years.
Horseracing became the play-pen for developers during the Celtic Tiger. As the bubble burst, the equine industry and continued investment in it was viewed as gruesome expenditure rather than worthwhile investment and stables were emptied, thoroughbred stock flooded the market and horseracing was placed on life-support.
Sean 'Trowel' Deane and Ger 'Hammer' O'Brien bucked the trend and their envious ensemble of horses continued running in the blue and red silks.
Thousand Stars, Quevega and J'y Vole were frequent visitors to the Cotswolds and often frequented the winner's enclosure which drew raised eyebrows as the economic crisis grew deeper.
Rumours of financial worries for the Deanes have been circulating around Kildare for quite a while but that wasn't reflected in the demeanour on the TV as trophy after trophy was added to the collection. Between their three equine success stories, they amassed £285,228 in winnings abroad and €875,971 here.
Anyone involved in horseracing will tell you how difficult it is to get a horse to a racetrack, never mind win, and to win so successfully over a sustained period with three horses is incredible.
Well, it's very lucky but it appears as though for one half of the Hammer and Trowel Syndicate, the luck has run out.