The great days of Irish flat racing and champion jockey Liam Ward, the celebrations of which rang around Castlesize House and Stud for years are represented in the forthcoming house contents auction.
Following on the recent sale of the Kildare house and stud at €2.7 million, the entire house contents reflecting those halcyon days are now on offer to the public on November 5, 2019. A treasure trove of art furniture and racing ephemera is on offer.
Chief among them is the half metre high bronze by Judy Lynch of the aforementioned Nijinski with jockey Liam Ward on board. (Estimate €400-€600.)
The sculpture calls to mind the stewardship by the former Castlesize owner of Nijinski in the Irish Derby at the Curragh in 1968.
“I only steered him home,” said Ward of the win modestly.
Liam Ward champion flat jockey of Ireland seven times, choice rider of Vincent O’Brien over the flat in Ireland.
As Lester rode in Britain, Liam Ward rode in Ireland.
The Sheffield silver champion jockey 1959 trophy and photo of him receiving such from then Taoiseach Sean Lemass stand proudly. (Combined estimate of €300-€500.)
Two more champion jockey silver trophies are also on offer.
Liam Ward retired from the flat but stayed in the racing world with Castlesize Stud.
His keen eye was not restricted to the equine world and the art collection in Castlesize House will attract a lot of interest.
One of the highlights is a large oil painting of Glengarriff by Bartholomew Colles Watkins RHA, estimated €4000-€6000.
An oil painting; ‘Horse And Cat In Stable’, attributed to Harry Hall (1838-1886) is estimated at €300-€600.
With another 60 examples of oils and watercolours of horses and landscape all going under the hammer, there is plenty on offer for the art collector.
Among the many items of furniture, a pair of nineteenth century oriental cloisonne vases c1890 is particularly attractive, estimated at €400- €600.
There is also a quality mahogany range of furniture and upholstered items. In short, everything must go, as the previous owner only removed two wingback armchairs and a fireguard.
Now retired in a nearby Kildare nursing home, multiple champion jockey Ward can still spot form.
His daughter Nicola who now lives in Kentucky, USA, speaks of her father who she visits in Co Kildare.
“I was watching racing with my dad the other day and he said see that chestnut in fifth? Well, he’s the winner, and he was right, it never leaves you.”
She remembers: “We love to talk about the great days, when the house was the must visit place after a day at the Curragh, it was packed with crowds and food and drink and a question of when would they ever leave?”
It is now time for the fine contents of Castlesize House and Stud to take their leave.