PAT HEALY: In this week’s blog Pat starts with Irish success Stateside and closer to home Killarney’s first meeting of the season enjoyed in perfect weather …
We had great success in America last Saturday with Willie Mullins and Paul Townend winning in Nashville with Scaramanga. It was fantastic to see, and we have to say well done to Willie, Paul and owner Malcolm Denmark.
Gordon Elliott was unfortunate because his horse, I Am Fortuna, was forced to withdraw after an insect bite. After going all that way, the horse couldn’t run, so it just shows you that everything needs to be right on the day. It must have been bitterly disappointing for Gordon and all his team.
Irish raiders travelling to Auteuil
We wish the Irish-trained runners travelling to Auteuil this weekend all the best.
There are plenty of Irish horses going over. Willie has targeted this meeting for a number of years and has had great success, so it’s no surprise he’s sending a batch over. Then there’s also Flooring Porter and Noble Yeats heading across, as well as Hewick, of course.
I was talking to Shark Hanlon (pictured below with Hewick) at Killarney on Sunday. He’s driving the horse box over himself. From his yard he’s going to drive to Rosslare and take the ferry to Le Havre, and he reckons that’s going to take 18 hours, and then he has a four-hour trip from Le Havre to Auteuil. That’s the guts of a day’s travelling in the horse box to get Hewick there for Sunday’s French Champion Hurdle.
Speaking of Gordon Elliott bringing I Am Fortuna all the way to America and not getting a run, I just hope that everything goes smoothly.
Hopefully they all put up a good show in Auteuil and the Irish come back with a few wins.
Season begins at Killarney
It was Killarney’s first race meeting of the year and there was a great crowd there for it. We had gorgeous weather too.
It’s a picturesque venue with the mountains in the background, and there’s always a lovely, easy-going feeling about the racecourse. It’s one for anyone’s bucket list.
Paul Townend jetted back in from America and rode a double, part of a treble for Willie Mullins on Sunday, the first day of Killarney’s three-day May meeting.
Listed success for Cian Collins
Cian Collins had a big winner on Sunday, when he won the Listed handicap hurdle with Mighty Tom. Cian is from County Kerry but is based up near Trim in County Meath. He’d be known in England for his raids with Effernock Fizz.
It was a great success for Cian. He’s a young man on the up and a name to look out for.
There was a fantastic win for Saffie Osborne (pictured below) in the Chester Cup. I don’t know her, but she looks to be a nice kid, and she continued her good run by riding a winner in Ascot on Saturday.
Point Lonsdale won the Huxley Stakes, and he’s going to be interesting to watch now he’s a four-year-old and one of the older brigade for Ballydoyle. I’m sure Aidan [O’Brien] will cherry pick some races for him and he’ll be on his travels around the world.
Arrest won well in the Chester Vase for Juddmonte, the Gosdens and Dettori and of course Savethelastdance was awful impressive in the Oaks trial.
San Antonio won the Dee Stakes. He was beaten twice in maidens as a two-year-old though, and I’m not sure how high Aidan rates him.
We have the Dante and Musidora this week in York to round off the Classic trials, so this week will tell us a lot about where we are with the Derby and Oaks in mind.
New Listowel Racecourse Chairman
On a personal note, my time as Listowel Racecourse Chairman ended this week. I retired after three years and I’m handing over to a great friend in new Chairman David ‘Classy’ Fitzmaurice.
I want to wish David all the best going forward. When you’re Chairman of the racecourse you’re always looking for everything to go well with good crowds and good weather.
My first two years as Chairman were affected by Covid. The first year we had no crowds and then we had a crowd limit of 2,000 the next year. Thankfully last year we were back to normal, and we had a fantastic Harvest Festival with nearly 100,000 patrons through the gates over seven days, so that was a great thrill.
It’s normally just a two-year term but, because my two years were impacted by Covid, David kindly gave me an extra year. It was a lovely thing to do and a gesture I much appreciated, and it meant a lot to have a memorable Harvest Festival last year.
I’m still a director and still on the committee and, as I said, I’d like to wish David all the best.
Until next week.