"The ramifications will be felt as soon as the morning" - O'Leary will be missed
Irish racing needed this like a hole in the head.
Henry De Bromhead, Noel Meade, Mouse Morris and obviously Gordon Elliott. They'll be among the horse racing folk feeling the pinch this morning. But they won't be alone.
It was on Tuesday afternoon when Michael O'Leary announced his intention to wind down operations at Gigginstown House stud. Ever since they've been totting up the collateral damage.
For breeders, for point to point owners, for pin hookers, jockeys, yard staff, trainers and just above anybody else who has a skin in the Irish game, this is a leveller that won't take long to begin grinding down.
But while speculation has nodded towards financial causes, Ruby Walsh feels it's more a case of time pressures prompting the decision. O'Leary didn't make it to the Sunday of this year's Dublin Racing Festival for example, instead opting to spend the day at Ireland and England's crucial Six Nations clash with his kids.
He came in for criticism on that day and Ruby Walsh feels its moments like these that may have soured his love for the game.
"I’m probably not as shocked or as surprised as everyone else. There were signs there along the way. Michael and Anita have four kids that are growing up and the only one that appears to have interest in racing is Michael.
He didn’t go to the Irish National this year. He wasn’t at the Dublin Racing Festival this year on the Saturday when Apple’s Jade won either because he was doing things with the kids," said Ruby to Paddy Power News.
"They’ve won a lot but to have the amount of horses they have, you need to be in love and dedicated to racing 24/7. I don’t think it was a financial decision either. You don’t get to be as clever as Michael O’Leary by thinking that getting involved in National Hunt racing is a wise business decision. It’s not to make a profit, it’s a passion..."
"The knock-on effect of their decision will be felt immediately and from the bottom up. They won’t be buying next week at the Land Rover Sale. They won’t be buying at the Derby Sale. They won’t have point-to-pointers next year, no bumper horses, then no novice hurdlers or chasers. It might take them four or five years to get out, but the ramifications will be felt as soon as this morning.
"I don’t think anyone will benefit from this situation. It’s a loss for Irish racing. There is no winner."
Ever since his blistering emergence onto the National Hunt scene in the early 2000s, Michael O'Leary and Gigginstown House stud have taken over. War of Attrition's Cheltenham Gold Cup triumph in 2006 was their first blue riband success but they've gone onto dominate to the extent that seven winners at last year's festival wore the iconic maroon and white colours.
As well as lighting up racetracks with his colourful and always charismatic interviews, O'Leary will be remembered for his successful relationship with Gordon Elliott, his famous wins with Don Cossack and Tiger Roll and his ultra-competitive mindset.
All you'd have to do is ask Davy Russell.
The sport of kings will miss him.