After winning the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas on May 22, Mac Swiney had his odds slashed and was one of the bookies' favourites heading into the 2021 Epsom Derby. However, he could only finish fourth, 11 lengths behind the winner Adayar.
In just his second race, the Irish Thoroughbred took victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden at the Curragh on July 18, 2020.
Priced at 15/2, Mac Swiney beat favourite Colour Sergeant to claim his maiden victory, covering the seven furlong course in a time of 1m 26.96s and securing the one-and-a-half length win in the final 150 yards.
On August 6, Mac Swiney competed in his first race away from Curragh, racing in the Group Three Japan Racing Association Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown. However, the 7/1 shot performed poorly, finishing ninth, and beaten by five-and-a-quarter lengths.
Just over a month after his maiden win, Mac Swinney continued his success at the Curragh, claiming the Group Two Galileo Irish European Breeders Fund Futurity Stakes.
Despite long odds of 28/1, Mac Swiney ran a strong race. He was second at the halfway point but kept well inside on the final furlong to lead for the final 50 yards, beating Cadillac by half a length.
Mac Swiney raced again at the Curragh just under a month later on September 13 in the Group One Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes and despite being priced at 12/1, he finished down in eighth place.
In his first race outside of Ireland, Mac Swiney competed in the Group One Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes in October at Doncaster. Again priced at 12/1, he claimed a maiden victory in England, beating One Ruler by three-quarters of a length. He was always tracking the leaders and pulled away to lead inside the final furlong, holding on well.
In the first race of his three-year-old season, Mac Swiney finished fourth in the Group three Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes at Leopardstown. Again ridden by Kevin Manning, who had guided him in all of his races thus far, he was beaten by six-and-three-quarter lengths by Epsom Derby favourite Bolshoi Ballet, finishing fourth of seven runners.
In his last race before the Epsom Derby, Mac Swinney claimed the first Irish 2000 Guineas for trainer Jim Bolger. Priced at 8/1, he finished claimed the €232,000 grand prize, narrowly pipping Poetic Flare to the post.
Mac Swiney had strong form going into the Derby, having won four of the eight races in which he had run. He had also won three of six stakes races. This saw his odds slashed for the Derby to 7/1 with Paddy Power, but ultimately he was not strong enough to defeat Adayar. It was an average performance at Epsom, with Mac Swiney never challenging for the places, going fourth with just one furlong to go.
Trainer Jim Bolger is an Irish racing great. Based in Coolcullen, County Kilkenny, Bolger has built up his excellent reputation. He has won races across the globe including the 2000 Guineas twice (2013 and 2021), the 1000 Guineas (2007) and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (1992). He also won the Epsom Derby with New Approach in 2008.
Mac Swiney is generally ridden by jockey Kevin Manning, who is Bolger's son-in-law. The pair have created a great dynamic and have become a formidable duo on the racecourse with their long and successful partnership. For the Irish 2000 Guineas win, Mac Swiney was ridden by Rory Cleary.
Mac Swiney is a chestnut horse with a white blaze and a white sock on his left hind.
He was sired by New Approach, who won the 2008 Epsom Derby. His dam, Halla Na Saoire was an unraced sister to the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial winner Light Heavy.
New Approach is a retired Irish Thoroughbred and an active stallion. During his racing career he raced 11 times, winning eight.
As a three-year-old, New Approach won the Epsom Derby, the Irish Champion Stakes and the Champion Stakes and was rated the best racehorse in the world alongside Curlin in the 2008 World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings.