PAT HEALY: In his latest blog Pat discusses Keith Donoghue’s best ever season, David Christie’s Cheltenham mission and remembering Andy Lynch.

Keith Donoghue

Keith’s having his best season ever. He’s on 39 winners from 262 rides – a 15% strike rate – which is phenomenal. He’s formed a great alliance with Gavin Cromwell and has now established himself as a go-to jockey in my opinion.

He has issues with weight, because he’s such a tall fella. His weight would be around 11st 3lbs, so he’s more someone who you would expect to turn out in midfield for his beloved County Meath football team than a fella that rides horses around a field, so what he’s doing is fantastic.

We wish him all the best going forward.

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David Christie on a Cheltenham mission

David Christie won the Hunters’ Chase on Sunday at Thurles with Ferns Lock.

David is one of our top Point-to-Point trainers. We all remember last year when Winged Leader was pipped at the line by Billaway in the Hunters’ Chase at Cheltenham, so that’s definitely an itch he would love to scratch, so to speak.

Sunday’s winner probably won’t go to Cheltenham, as he’s only a six-year-old and David has a strong hand going there already. At the minute, he’s going to run Vaucelet, Winged Leader and Ultimate Optimist, so it looks like he’s going to go there with three great chances.

David trains in Derrylin, County Fermanagh and most Point-to-Point venues would be a way away, so there’s no doubt he works hard and, if he does win this year’s Hunters’ Chase, it would be well deserved.

Remembering Andy Lynch

Andy was a well-known face in Irish racing. For 20 years he was Noel Meade’s Travelling Head Lad.

He took out a trainers’ licence himself about 10 years ago and went on to have Grade 1 success with Zabana.

He was a lovely character, easy and quiet going, and always a pleasure to meet at the races. He was also a fantastic hunting man, and a permanent fixture at the Ward Union Staghounds.

We wish to pass on our sympathies to his children Ann, Sandra, Paddy, Maggie, Andrew and Michael. May he rest in peace.

Congratulations Mick O’Dwyer

We pass on our heartfelt congratulations Mick O’Dwyer, who, at the ripe old age of 86, married Tyrone lady Geraldine McGirr in the Southern Hotel in Killarney Town last Sunday.

Mick managed Kerry teams to win eight All-Ireland titles, and is a GAA legend as well as a great friend.

Until next week.

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