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Cross-country star Big Shu put Peter Maher on the modern racing map, but his ancestors colour the tapestry of National Hunt history.

His grandfather Frank Latham stood some of the most influential stallions of the 1960s and 70s; the likes of Escart III and Vulgan, sires of Gold Cup and Grand National winners L’Escargot, Team Spirit, Gay Trip, and The Dikler - all proof that the French influence on National Hunt racing and breeding is hardly some modern phenomena. Nor is the success of Peter Maher.

     A native of Clondalkin in Dublin, Peter spent every summer holiday at his grandfather's Blackrath Stud. He learnt horse husbandry, how to read horses and how to love them, then he began riding obtaining his amateur license aged 16. His first jobs were for the legendary PP Hogan and Francis Flood, and the true horsemen they were built the trainer in charge at Ashfield Stud today.

     They can consider themselves responsible for his pivotal purchase too; Big Shu was everything they would have desired and gave Peter his two greatest victories - the Glenfarcla’s Cross Country Chase at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival and the La Touche Cup at the same year’s Punchestown Festival - before going on to become his first runner in the Aintree Grand National.

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