It was a joyous occasion for all her people – owner Anthony Mac Cormack, rider Kelly Allen and breeders John and Jenny Richardson – when Ballyowen Maybelle Molly won the seven year old derby at Fontainbleau on April 19th ’09. She had become, officially , the best seven year old in Europe. Her magnificent achievement was not, however, a complete surprise to me as I have followed her fortunes for many years now.
It all started when Sean Mac Lochlainn bought a three year old filly by Tiger Gill out of a Tully Lad mare called Kiss me Kate. She was a dun roan and stood at c. 13’. Sean entered her in Class 14 at the Clifden Show in August 1960. This was a class for non registered Connemara mares not less than three years old. His sole purpose in doing so was that such ponies could be inspected for registration at the show, which she was. She was called Lus na bPóg (2103).
Her career as a show pony was short and inglorious but she became the most wonderful broodmare and left five fabulous daughters. The oldest Póigín (Carna Dun) went to England/Scotland. Ballyowen Belle (Carna Dun) stayed in Ireland with the Richardsons. Ciotóg (Doon Paddy) went to Montana-Canada. Blá an Duinin (Doon Paddy) went to Sweden and Doireann (Macdara) went to France.
There is obviously a big Little Heaven influence but I also think there is a big female thing going on in this family. The females are so dominant that we musn’t give too much of the credit to the ‘topline’. Consider also that Doireann who was by Macdara (no outside blood) produced Balladin de Fremur (Macky) in France, a registered stallion who jumped at national level there, thus garnering a big reputation for himself and the breed.
The extended Lus na bPóg family is littered with great performers but three of them were genuine superstars operating a the very highest level. They were Poigin, Golden Avens Ruby (daughter of Ciotóg) and Molly (g.daughter of Belle). All three were females ridden by extremely talented girls – Fiona Clarke, Melanie Jacobi, and Kelly Allen respectively.
Póigín and Goldie were all-rounders, excelling in a variety of disciplines. They looked alike being typical of the Carna Dun line with tall, scopey strong heads. Molly is different in that she is an absolute jumping machine and looks as well as she jumps. Doris Jacobi and I have written previously about Póigín and Goldie (Chronicle 2001) and all I can say about Molly, being a seven year old, is that her career, stunning as it is to date, is only beginning. The prominence of the females in the family is intriguing The talent and athleticism is unquestionable and if Sean were alive today we can assume that he would regard the £77-10-0 that he paid for Lus and her companion Londubh fifty years ago as pretty good value!