PAT HEALY: In his latest blog Pat reports on the 4,000th career win for Willie Mullins and looks ahead to the Dublin Racing Festival this weekend.


4000 winners!

Willie Mullins went over to Cheltenham to watch Energumene run in the Clarence House and in doing that he missed seeing his 4,000th winner, when Bronn won the novice chase at Fairyhouse on Saturday.

What an achievement. Willie’s 66, and when you consider people have to retire at 65, you realise that he’s rewriting the history books.

We have to say a massive well done to Willie on all his achievements, and please God he’ll be around for a long, long time yet.

Given the fact that Willie trains Energumene, I wouldn’t be too despondent about him getting beat at Cheltenham on Saturday. I think come March he’ll back to 100 percent and ready to defend his Champion Chase crown.

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Suspending jockeys

It’s an old chestnut of mine, but one that I can’t get my head around.

Siobhan Rutledge picked up a nine-day ban for use of the whip at Dundalk last Friday. What that means is Siobhan won’t be able to ride again until the turf season begins in March.

Anyone that knows Siobhan Rutledge knows that she’s a great kid and a very good rider. She’s knee high to a grasshopper, so if I had to get a belt of a whip, I’d prefer to get one from Siobhan Rutledge than from the likes of Colin Keane!

I just think, where is the good in suspending Siobhan for nine days? You’re robbing her of earning a living and I firmly believe that you’d be better off fining her.

I said that to her at Dundalk. I said they should fine her €1500 or €2000, and her response was that it would hurt, but it’d be preferable, as then she would still be able to earn a living and have a chance to earn it back.


Tyrella and Ballyvodock Point-to-Points

I was in Tyrella in County Down on Saturday. Everyone knows what a scenic venue it is on Tyrella beach, with the Irish Sea bordering it and looking at the Mourne Mountains.

They’ve been Point-to-Pointing there for 70 years this year, so it’s a historic venue too.

The star attraction of the day was a horse called Brain Power, who won the Open, making it his fourth success this season. He’s trained by Warren Ewing of Constitution Hill fame, and Warren’s going to aim him at the Foxhunter’s at Cheltenham, so I’m sure he’ll go there with a good shout.

On Sunday I was down in County Cork for the Point-to-Point at Ballyvodock, just outside Carrigtwohill.

There was a huge crowd in attendance, and it was a fantastic day. Well done to all the committee involved.

It was also great to see young Daniel Hyde have his first winner. He’s a son of Tim Hyde and a grandson of Timmy Hyde senior, the famous pinhooker, of Camas Park Stud. Dan is only 19 and is studying at Trinity College Dublin, so it was fantastic to see him have his first success.

We also have to say well done to Johnny Barry, who rode a treble on the day.


Thyestes Day

Thyestes Day is one of the traditional days in the calendar and the crowds turned up in their droves.

Well done to Eddie Scally and his team at Gowran Park. Everything was brilliantly organised, even down to the traffic plan they had in place, meaning it was easy to drive away from the course at the end of the day, which is important after a day’s racing.

We had the highlight of Carefully Selected, winning the Thyestes for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend, and of Teahupoo in the Galmoy Hurdle for Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell, who stamped his card for the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Festival.


Looking ahead to Leopardstown

I’m all excited and can’t wait for the Dublin Racing Festival on Saturday and Sunday.

I’m sure it’ll be a packed house both days of the weekend. Ticket sales have been great and it’s been reported that a lot of English will be coming over.

Hopefully everything will go well for Tim Husbands and his team at Leopardstown Racecourse.

I’m looking forward to seeing some fantastic racehorses and some top-class action.

Until next week.
PAT


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