Anne Holland’s Book Features Malahide Hero

The small town of Malahide, is located in Ireland, a short distance away from the bustling city of Dublin. Not many people have even heard of this quaint town, but in a newly released book by Anne Holland, named The Grand National: The Irish at Aintree, Malahide and one of the best horses in the history of Ireland is mentioned. Through the book, the deserved recognition is given to the town and to a horse that overcame every obstacle in his way, to become a sensation and the hero of Malahide.

Herbert McDonnell, a local from Malahide bought a horse named Caughoo, on recommendation of a friend, where he stood for sale at the 1941 Ballsbridge Sales as a two year old. He bought Caughoo for fifty guineas, but failed miserably as a flat racehorse. It was decided to try him over a few hurdles to see if he would be more comfortable, and ran in Galway Hurdle, where he placed in third position. Herbert McDonnell decided to sell Caughoo to his brother, Jack, who was not only a well known jeweler, but a star rugby player for the Suttonians. In the same year that Jack bought Caughoo in 1945, the rising horse racing star went on to win the Ulster Grand National.

Royal blue, white and green would become the racing colors for Jack McDonnell and the pristine beaches of Fingal would become the playing and training ground of Caughoo. In 1946, Caughoo took on the Ulster Grand National again and won, and in the following year, as an eight year old, he was entered into the English Grand National. The English Grand National was one of the most prestigious events and saw horses such as Revelry, Silver Fame and Prince Regent in the lineup. Not many people believed in Caughoo, but on that rainy and misty day in 1947, Caughoo and jockey, Eddie Dempsey, thundered to victory and became the first Irish horse since World War II, to win the English Grand National. Critics tried to discredit the victory, saying that Caughoo did not complete the entire course, but photographs taken during the race put a swift end to the controversy. McDonnell retired Caughoo a few years after the Grand National and when the magnificent racehorse passed away, he was buried in Sutton. His remains were later reburied at a farmhouse next to the Fairyhouse Racecourse, where his grave remains today.

Many legends and stories have been told about Caughoo, but in Anne Holland’s book, his memory and victories are retold for the entire world to recognize. Caughoo was not only a hero to the locals of Malahide, but a symbol of hope and pride to the entire Ireland.