Brave Inca

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Brave Inca
Brave Inca - Champion Hurdle 3rd.jpg
Brave Inca at the Cheltenham Festival in 2005.
SireGood Thyne
DamWigwam Mam
DamsireCommanche Run
BreederD W McAuley
OwnerNovices Syndicate
TrainerColm Murphy
Record35: 15-8-4
Major wins
Champion Hurdle (2006)
Supreme Novices' Hurdle (2004)
Irish Champion Hurdle (2006,2009)
December Festival Hurdle (2005, 2006)
Punchestown Champion Hurdle (2005)
Deloitte Novice Hurdle (2004)
Evening Herald Champion Novice Hurdle (2004)
Hatton's Grace Hurdle (2006)
Anglo-Irish Jump Horse of the Year (2006)[1]

Brave Inca (foaled 20 April 1998) is a retired Irish Thoroughbred racehorse. In a career that lasted from March 2002 until April 2009, he ran thirty-five times and won 15 races, ten of them at Grade I level. including the 2006 Champion Hurdle. From 2005 until he was retired, Brava Inca ran in sixteen successive Grade I races.


Brave Inca was bred in Ireland by D W McAuley. His sire was Good Thyne, an American-bred stallion who produced the winners of over 600 jumps races in Britain and Ireland.[2] He was the first foal of his dam, the unraced Wigwam Mam. He was sold as a foal for 1,600gns at Tattersalls and as a yearling for IR£6,000,[3] eventually becoming the property of the Novices Syndicate. He was trained throughout his career by Colm Murphy in the village of Killenagh, near Gorey, County Wexford.[4]

Early career (2001–2004)[edit]

Brave Inca began his career by running unplaced in minor hurdle races at Navan and Wexford in March of the 2001/2002 season. The following season began similarly with down-the-field efforts in minor hurdle events at Fairyhouse and Naas. In these two races, he was ridden by Barry Cash, who became his regular jockey for the next three seasons. In March 2003, he was switched to National Hunt flat races and began to show improvement, winning "bumpers" at Fairyhouse and Navan[5] by wide margins.

Because of his early failures, Brave Inca entered the 2003/2004 season as a novice hurdler. He then went unbeaten in five starts. After picking up two handicaps before Christmas, he won his first major prize by defeating Newmill in the Grade I Deloitte Novice Hurdle.[6] At Cheltenham, he was sent off 7-2 favourite for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and won by a neck over future Cheltenham Gold Cup winner War of Attrition.[7] The win provoked "near-hysterical" celebrations among the large Irish contingent, with Colm Murphy being carried shoulder-high into the winner's enclosure.[8] In his final start of the season in the Evening Herald Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown, Brave Inca defeated the English-trained Top Novices' Hurdle winner Royal Shakespeare by a short head.[9][10]

Rise to the Championship (2004–2006)[edit]

O'Brien's thatched pub at Killenagh, a gathering point for Brave Inca's supporters[11]

In the 2004/5 season, Brave Inca won once from seven starts. On his debut at Dromore in November, he narrowly failed to give 10 lbs to Macs Joy1 , a horse he met many times over the subsequent seasons. Later in the same month, he ran second to the mare Solerina in the two-and-a-half-mile Hatton's Grace Hurdle. Two more second places followed in the December Festival Hurdle[12] and the Irish Champion Hurdle with Macs Joy victorious on both occasions.

Brave Inca was sent off as a 10-1 chance for his first attempt at the Champion Hurdle in March 2005. In an eventful race, he finished third, beaten two necks by Hardy Eustace, who won his second championship, and Harchibald, who had seemed certain to win after the final hurdle.[13] As a result of this effort, Brave Inca was sent off 2-1 favourite for the Aintree Hurdle but fell for the first and only time in his career. A season of near-misses ended as he rallied after being headed close home to defeat Harchibald and Macs Joy in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle, in which he was ridden for the first time by Tony McCoy[14]

Although he was already seven years old at the start of the 2005/6 season, Brave Inca appeared to be reaching his peak, an impression that was confirmed when McCoy rode him to victory in the Morgiana Hurdle, beating Harchibald and Macs Joy again.[15] After another failed attempt at the Hatton's Grace Hurdle, he confirmed his superiority over the best two-mile hurdlers in Ireland with an "easy" and "convincing" victory in the December Festival Hurdle after which he was quoted as 5-1 joint favourite for the Championship.[16] A triumph in the Irish Champion Hurdle [17] meant that he was seen as the potential champion by the time of the 2006 Cheltenham Festival[18] Sent off 7-4 favourite in a field of 18, Brave Inca landed the odds in the Champion Hurdle, winning by a length from Macs Joy, with Hardy Eustace three lengths back in third. "He's all there," said Murphy after the race. "He's a complete horse now."[19] On his final start of the season, Brave Inca finished second to Macs Joy in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle.

Later career[edit]

In 2006/7, Brave Inca won the Hatton's Grace Hurdle at his third attempt and a second December Festival Hurdle, as well as finishing runner-up in the Irish Champion Hurdle. In the Champion Hurdle, he defeated most of the leading contenders, including Detroit City and Hardy Eustace, but finished second, three lengths behind the surprise 16-1 winner Sublimity.[20]

Brave Inca missed the whole of the 2007/8 season with a tendon injury[21] but returned in 2008/9. Although now well past his best, he managed one last major victory by winning the Irish Champion Hurdle at the age of 11,[22] after which Colm Murphy described him as "unbelievable, one in a million. He's as tough as nails".[23]


Brave Inca was retired from racing after running down the field in the 2009 Champion Hurdle.[24] He has not, however, retired from competition, becoming a successful show-horse.[25] He has also been used to raise funds for the "Playing for Life" charity by taking part in a "Man vs Horse" race at Leopardstown in December 2010.[26]


Pedigree of Brave Inca (IRE), bay gelding, 1998[27]
Good Thyne (USA)
Vandale Plassy
Flagette Escamillo
Round Table Princequillo
Knights Daughter
Regal Gleam Hail To Reason
Miz Carol
Wigwam Mam (IRE)
Commanche Run
Run The Gantlet Tom Rolfe
First Feather
Volley Ratification
Lucifer Crimson Satan
La Joliette
Rozeen Merry Rose
Pandomas (Family: 8-c)


1 Macs Joy: This is the correct spelling. There is no apostrophe.


  1. ^ "Inca wins horse of the year award". BBC News. 2006-05-15.
  2. ^ "Good Thyne Stud Record". Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  3. ^ "Wigwam Mam (IRE) progeny sales record". Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  4. ^ "Trainer Colm Murphy :: Brave Inca". Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  5. ^ "Results from the 5.30 race at NAVAN (IRE) - 22 March 2003". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  6. ^ "Deloitte Novice Hurdle". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  7. ^ "Supreme Novices' Hurdle". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  8. ^ Montgomery, Sue (2004-03-17). "Cash and Brave Inca start Irish celebrations". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  9. ^ "Champion Novice Hurdle". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  10. ^ Armytage, Marcus (2004-04-28). "Afternoon stroll for foot-perfect Flyer". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  11. ^ Kelso, Paul (2004-03-16). "Plain sailing so far for Brave Inca, fast-rising star and the pride of Killena". The Guardian. London.
  12. ^ "Festive success for Macs Joy". BBC News. 2004-12-29. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  13. ^ "Champion Hurdle 2005". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  14. ^ "Punchestown Champion Hurdle". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  15. ^ "Brave Inca Is Champion Material". 2005-11-21. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  16. ^ Armytage, Marcus (2005-12-30). "Brave Inca 5-1 for Champion after easy win". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  17. ^ "Irish Champion Hurdle 2006". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  18. ^ "Champion Hurdle favourite Brave Inca Excels in Workout". Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  19. ^ "Champion Run from Brave Inca". London: The Telegraph. 2006-03-14. Retrieved 2011-08-27.
  20. ^ "Champion Hurdle 2007". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  21. ^ Tony Paley (2007-08-29). "Brave Inca set to miss jumps season with tendon injury". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  22. ^ Marcus Townend (2009-01-25). "Brave Inca Rolls back the Years". London: the Daily Mail. Retrieved 2011-08-27.
  23. ^ McGrath, Chris (2009-01-26). "Brave Inca regains title as iron horse of Ireland - Racing, Sport". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  24. ^ "Brave Inca". Racing Post. 2011-06-02. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  25. ^ "Brave Inca wins at Dublin Horse Show again". 2011-08-08. Retrieved 2011-08-27.
  26. ^ "Brave Inca scores a win with a difference". Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  27. ^ "Brave Inca". 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-06-30.

External links[edit]