25 April-Danoli

Danoli was a racehorse owned by Dan O’Neill of Myshall near Bagenalstown County Carlow, Ireland. Danoli was trained by Tom Foley at his stables nearby. The thoroughbred which was foaled on May 14th 1988 became one of the most popular racehorses in Ireland during the 1990’s. During his career he was often referred to as ‘the people’s champion’.

Dan O’Neill purchased Danoli in 1991 from Willie Austin of Cloughjordan Co Tipperary. The new owner’s first name and the first three letters of Olivia, his daughter’s name, were combined to give the horse his name.

Danoli began his racing career in National Hunt flat races, winning his first race at Naas in 1991. In 1993 he began racing over hurdles in Ireland. He won his first two races before going to Cheltenham in 1994 where he won the Sun Alliance Novices’ Hurdle. During 1994 he also won the Aintree Hurdle, the Morgiana Hurdle and the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle. In 1995 he won the Aintree Hurdle for the second time. However he was found to have fractured a bone in one of his legs and underwent surgery at Leahurst Veterinary College in the University of Liverpool. He returned to racing and following some failures won the Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park, Kilkenny in February 1996.

In 1996 Danoli began his steeplechasing career with a win at Clonmel. In the same year he went on to win the Denny Gold Medal Chase at Leopardstown Racecourse in December. On February 2nd 1997 he won the prestigious Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown. Plagued by injury during his racing career Danoli had his final win at Navan on March 25th 2000. His retirement was announced in August of the same year. In retirement he drew large crowds to visit him at the National Stud in Co Kildare.

Danoli was euthanised following a severe bout of colic in the year 2006 On This Day.

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