PAT HEALY: In this week’s blog Pat starts with the shock news last week of Bryan Cooper’s retirement …

Bryan Cooper retirement

I have to say it was a shock to hear Bryan Cooper announce his retirement last week. I’ve read a few interviews that he’s done over the weekend, and Bryan explained that he wasn’t in a happy place mentally, and wasn’t in love with being a jockey.

I fully understand his decision and I tip my hat to him. Racing is an even tougher game if you’re not in it 100 percent mentally and physically. You could end up seriously injured or worse.

The fall that Bryan took from Clarcam at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival, I know that fall was so serious that Dr Adrian McGoldrick, who was the IHRB doctor at the time, said it was the worst injury he had ever seen. It was touch-and-go as to whether he was going to lose his leg. That obviously left a mark, but in itself, it’s amazing to think that he came back from that injury.

Fair play to Bryan, he’s still a young man at 30 years of age. He accomplished a lot in his career, with winning the Gold Cup in 2016 on Don Cossack probably being the highlight.

It must have been a hard decision to make, but fair play to Bryan and we wish him all the best going forward.

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Kicking King

It was sad to see Kicking King pass on at the age of 25. What a horse he was – two King Georges, a Gold Cup, and he ran and finished second in the Arkle and the Supreme at the Festival too. He was a fantastic racehorse and gave his connections some great days and will be remembered by many for the partnership he struck up with regular rider Barry Geraghty.

I had a soft spot for him. He was living out a happy retirement at the Irish National Stud in Kildare, and he got plenty of attention and affection there.

Return of the Flat

The Flat returned on Saturday at the Curragh and there was a great turnout.

The Irish Lincoln was a thrilling contest. A lot of people would have taken notice of William Haggas running a horse in a handicap, and Chris Hayes delivered Lattam right on the line to steal it from the Ado McGuinness-trained Saltonstall.

Fair play to Mr Haggas; the English season still has to get up and running, but he’s already won a Group 1 in Australia and he’s now added the Irish Lincoln.

Ballydoyle press morning

We had the Irish media morning in Ballydoyle on Monday morning. We have to give a huge thanks to Chris Armstrong, Aidan and the team at Ballydoyle for accommodating all the reporters and photographers.

Aidan went through all his horses and is very happy with where they are at the moment. There’s also talk that last year’s top two-year-old Auguste Rodin could be a Triple Crown horse.

Aidan tried it with Camelot back in 2012, when he won the Guineas and the Derby, but just came up short in the St Leger.

Even for there to be a horse in his yard that could be going that route is hugely exciting for the sport. Fingers crossed it comes off.

Dubai World Cup night

Equinox put up a performance that was just mind blowing in the Sheema Classic in Dubai on Saturday. To win as easily as he did and break the course record was just incredible, and Christophe Lemaire definitely had at least two more gears up his sleeve!

I can’t wait to see where he’ll go next. Will we see him at Royal Ascot? Will he go to the Breeders’ Cup? Will he go to the Arc?

Ryan Moore

We have to give a hat-tip to Ryan Moore. He gave his two Group 1 winners in Australia the weekend before brilliant rides, he was then just beaten a short-head in the Hong Kong Derby, and once again in Meydan, he was exceptional on Broome and Sibelius.

Ryan then jumped on a plane and was in Naas on Sunday to ride Paddington to success for Ballydoyle. The life of a top-class Flat jockey is certainly exciting and non-stop.

It is what we expect of Ryan Moore. He’s as good as we’ve ever seen and probably as good as we ever will see. It’s a great pleasure be around to watch him display his craft.

Jerry O’Dwyer

Ryan doubled up on the day in Meydan with Sibelius for trainer Jerry O’Dwyer.

Jerry is one of our own. He rode some winners here back in the day when he was apprentice to Mick Halford, but was a tall man and weight was always likely to get the better of him.

He’s now been training in America a couple of years, and he celebrated his biggest winner with Sibelius in the Golden Shaheen.

We pass on our heartiest congratulations and hopefully there’ll be more to come.

Until next week.

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