Cobra 18 – a huge loss to sport horse breeding

Cobra 18 death BR Farm
TRAGIC: The late ‘Cobra 18’, which tragically died last Friday, pictured with Gladys McArdle at Drumhowan Stud. (FW15-553NN)

COBRA 18’, the talented son of ‘Cornet Obolensky’ and sire of the outstanding grey ‘Dublin’, tragically died on Friday, April 5, following a bout of colic. He died in his own stable at Drumhowan Stud in Co. Monaghan after receiving the most excellent veterinary care, but unfortunately he could not be saved.

Born in 2003 at the world famous Ligges Stud in Germany, ‘Cobra 18’ covered just a handful of mares as a four-year-old, before embarking on his own Show jumping career. A horse with exceptional ability, this 172cm Bay Westphalian Stallion reached international 1.50m level before a career ending injury in 2014 forced his retirement to stud. Consequently, his career as a breeding stallion was in its infancy and his death will be a real loss to sport horse breeding.

While the vast majority of his progeny are still under four years of age, one of his first sons ‘Dublin’ (now 12 years old) has already reached the very top in the sport of Show jumping. ‘Dublin’ emerged into the big time with Team USA’s Kent Farrington, who described him as “spectacular” and “a horse with a big future”, achieving numerous Grand Prix placings up to 1.60m level.

In late 2018, ‘Dublin’ moved to Team GB’s Jessica Mendoza in an exciting development for British Show Jumping.

‘Cobra 18’ had a wonderful kind nature and, since his move to stand in Ireland in 2015, has proved an extremely popular choice with Irish breeders. While ‘Cobra 18’s’ breeding career has been cut tragically short, his popularity in recent years will ensure that his outstanding genetics will live on through his hundreds of youngstock and remaining frozen semen.

‘Cobra 18’s’ owner, Tony Noble commented: “I am devastated, he is gone far too soon, just as we are about to start seeing his progeny in Ireland and UK come of age. He was a lovely horse, with a kind temperament and bundles of presence. I feel honoured to have had him in my life and to be the custodian of ensuring his legacy continues by careful management of his frozen semen and through his offspring. We have been overwhelmed by the response to the news of his death, having received thousands of calls and messages from the equestrian community around the world. It’s a reflection on ‘Cobra 18’ himself and everyone who worked with him since his retirement to stud, especially Gladys and Eamon McArdle of Drumhowan Stud, who cared dearly for him and helped launch his breeding career here in Ireland.”

Gladys from Drumhowan Stud commented: “With ‘Cobra 18’s’ oldest Irish born progeny just rising three years old, he was really about to start to prove his worth as a stallion here. I have no doubt that he will prove his sire abilities to produce more serious performers like ‘Dublin’. They are developing into lovely blood models and those breeders that have given them a pop are impressed.

“’Cobra 18’ was a real character and a big showman. He was full of drama, yet the most genuine and uncomplicated stallion to work with daily in the breeding yard. He got some of the trickiest mares in foal – he had excellent fertility! Showing him “in hand” to clients, sometimes he thought he was made for Dressage. It’s so sad and a perfect working team has been broken. We had stout expectations for his future as a sire and we hope we can find someone with similar credentials. His stable needs to be filled, but will have big shoes to fill!”


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