The Gillette horse - 'Trouble for Stubble'

In 1965, Declan Gilroy won a Gillett race-horse naming competition. The horse’s name was ‘Trouble for Stubble’, pictured here with Declan. The horse was handed over in the Curragh, County Kildare.

Irish horse racing as an organised and planned activity spans from the 17th century, despite the 1600s being a significantly turbulent period in Ireland’s history with England. Following Cromwell’s death in 1658 Charles II, known as the ‘Merrie Monarch’ was restored to the British throne. Under his reign he passed an Act of Parliament which saw the first race run under written rules the Town Plate at Newmarket in 1666.

In a famous speech Charles II said: ‘Horses in Ireland are a drug, but might be improved to a commodity, not only of greater use at home but also fit for exportation into other countries… We see horses bred of excellent shape and vigour and size as to reach excellent prices at home and encourage strangers to find the market here’.