PAT HEALY: The latest racing stories that have caught Pat’s eye starting with Tom Scudamore’s retirement.
Tom Scudamore retirement
We have to congratulate Tom Scudamore and wish him all the best going forward. What a brilliant career he has had, riding over 1,500 winners.
Perhaps the standout horse for Tom would have been Thistlecrack. I loved his quote about Thistlecrack, when he said ‘all I have to do is turn up on time [and he’ll win]’. He was a great horse.
Tom is a lovely man and anytime we met him across the water or when he came to Ireland to ride, he was always great to chat with.
He cemented himself into the top 10 list of riders in Britain, along with his dad, which is a unique occurrence and something to be proud of.
Oisin Murphy’s return
Oisin Murphy returned at Chelmsford last Thursday and rode a winner from his only ride. He continued that run in Doha on Saturday when winning on Flaming Rib.
It’s great to see Oisin, or ‘Onion’ as we know him, back on the racecourse. Hopefully things will go well for him going forward, we know he has the ability, we know he can horseback and we look forward to him challenging for the jockeys’ championship in the coming months.
300 between the flags for Rob James
On Saturday I was at Oldtown Point-to-Point in County Dublin where there was a big milestone reached by Rob James, who rode his 300th point-to-point winner.
It came in the four-year-old maiden, aboard a horse he trains himself called Jingko Blue.
Once again, the committee for the Ward Union Hunt were rewarded with a great turnout.
It was fantastic to see Shishkin put in that performance at Ascot on Saturday.
Never, never doubt Nicky Henderson. A lot of people had written the horse off, so it was great to see him back to his best. Nicky Henderson and his team at Seven Barrows deserve an awful lot of credit.
It seems the key to Shishkin now, given his age, is going to be running over more of a trip and I think he’s going to be tough to beat when he lines up in the Ryanair at Cheltenham.
An impressive debut at Punchestown
There was great variety on the racecard, with a Grand National Trial, a Listed mares’ novice hurdle and a banks race at Punchestown this weekend.
Of course we also had a bumper that looked to throw up a Cheltenham contender in the shape of the impressive Ballyburn, who beat another nice prospect in Quantum Storm on the day.
He’s from the point-to-point field; he won his point at Loughanmore for Colin McKeever and Wilson Dennison and he’s now owned by well-known owner Ronnie Bartlett and football agent David Manasseh. He looks a fine specimen of a horse and I think he’s gone into around 7/1 for the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.
We also have to give great credit to the Punchestown Racecourse Committee for running the stable staff race, named the Up The Yard Challenge. There were 16 runners all ridden by stable staff and it was well supported by Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott among others.
There was a great atmosphere and it brought people to the track. It was won by Emma Redmond on The Very Man for her boss Jessica Harrington.
Free entry a success at Gowran Park
What a fantastic day it was at Gowran Park on Saturday. Huge credit goes to local feed company Red Mills, who sponsored the gate for the day.
There was a great crowd, and you’d have to say the majority were young people. The marquees afterwards were hopping with music and everybody that was there said it was a fantastic day out.
This is the second year that Red Mills have sponsored the day, it’s a great success and you have to say that it’s cemented itself now with the locals. It’ll be on people’s minds again for next year.
Until next week.