PAT HEALY: Pat looks forward to Irish Champions weekend and starts with Wesley Joyce’s remarkable recovery from injury to back riding winners ….
Wesley Joyce had a terrible fall at the Galway Festival around a year ago and was lucky to come away from it in one piece. He was seriously injured in hospital for a while. To come back and be riding again is a serious accomplishment in itself, but to get back to riding winners so quickly is just a great story. What a brilliant young man he is.
He rode his first winner back in Cork last Wednesday, then the day after he had a winner in Navan and then he had another winner in Navan on Saturday. It’s just a fantastic story, he’s such a popular kid and it’s great to see him back riding winners.
In the jockeys’ room I’m told he’s a complete ‘messer’. Robbie Fox, the valet, will tell you that he’ll go out to the scales to help a jockey and when he comes back to the weighing room, Wesley will have altered all the weights on his card, so he doesn’t know which weights the jockeys are supposed to have in the next race! Jockeys have got down to the start and have pulled their goggles down only to find them the wrong way round, because Wesley’s switched them. He’s pure fun and a real character.
It was also great to see Dr Jennifer Pugh, who was there the day Wesley got the fall in Galway and was by his side for the next couple of months, at Cork on Wednesday as she happened to be on duty. There are so many people to thank.
Wesley is back riding winners and everyone in racing is so happy for him. We wish him continued success going forward in his career.
Irish Champions Weekend
There are two fantastic days of racing to look forward to this weekend, from Leopardstown and the Curragh.
The Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday is a world renown race and is arguably Ireland’s best Flat race. Hopefully both Auguste Rodin and King Of Steel (both pictured below) turn up. I’m hoping Aidan [O’Brien] can work his magic with Auguste Rodin and if the two of them do battle up the Leopardstown straight it’ll be some horse race. A rematch between those two is worth the ticket price in itself.
Then, on the Sunday from the Curragh, it’s the chance for the two-year-olds to shine with the National Stakes for the colts and the Moyglare for the fillies.
Apart from the Irish Derby these are the two showcase racedays for Irish racing internationally, so they’re hugely important in the Irish racing calendar. It looks like we’re going to get decent weather, so hopefully people come out and enjoy two top-class days racing. I can’t wait and I’m really looking forward to it.
No Frankie in Listowel
We’re less than two weeks away from the seven-day Harvest Festival and I’m afraid we’ll have no Frankie Dettori in Listowel this year. It’s unfortunate, but if I’m to be honest, Frankie had one price and we had another price which we agreed last year. Of course, last year he got suspended after riding in Germany and couldn’t come, but he promised that he’d come this year. Unfortunately, we couldn’t meet in the middle, so that’s why Frankie won’t be coming to Listowel.
We plough on and hope to have a bigger and better Harvest Festival than ever. Bookings have been strong, and I have to give a huge thank you to our sponsors, as we once again have a sponsor in every race over the week, as well as our loyal supporters who return year after year.
Dylan Browne McMonagle
Dylan Browne McMonagle went to Newcastle for the Racing League last Thursday and rode two winners. He’s stamping himself as a serious rider and riding a double in the Racing League in England will only propel his profile higher and to a wider audience. Dylan is attached to the Joseph O’Brien stable and we’ve known in Ireland for a while that he’s a serious operator.
Watch this space. Dylan is getting better and better and I’m sure he’s going to be a future Irish Champion Jockey. He has the skill, he has the class, he has the personality and the communication skills – he has everything that goes with being a top-class rider. We’re going hear a lot more about Dylan Browne McMonagle.
Huge crowd at Cullentra Open Day
Gordon Elliott had an open day last Saturday at his stables in Cullentra and a crowd of over 2000 people turned up. My nephew Sean covered the event for Gordon and I couldn’t believe the pictures when I saw them. There were crowds and crowds of people, all enjoying themselves. It was a sight to behold. It’s a great testament to Gordon as a person and as a trainer, to manage to get 2000 people to turn up to your stables. Well done to Gordon and all his team.