PAT HEALY: Pat starts this week with words of praise for Killarney on their festival. Definitely a track to visit with the mountainous backdrop …
Firstly, congratulations to Killarney Racecourse and to the team as well. They had a fantastic festival with a huge crowd at the County Kerry track and the weather was kind.
There were some very smart performances and as we said last week, if you haven’t been, you have to go as there is nowhere more beautiful with the mountains as the backdrop. It was a joy to be there for the five days.
New additions to the 100 club
Over the last week, we had a few people enter the 100 club.
Jockey Joey Sheridan rode his 100th winner when Church Mountain won on Tuesday at Killarney, marking a big milestone for the young Tipperary rider. Also, trainer Johnny Levins joined the 100 club when Chimeric won on the Wednesday at Killarney.
Then Luke McAteer rode his 100th winner aboard Jakajaro to win in the penultimate race at the Curragh on Saturday.
Congratulations to the three lads, welcome to the 100 club and hopefully they will be around for a long time to come.
Irish Oaks weekend at the Curragh
Moving onto the Curragh on Saturday, it was a shame it was a dirty day with showers, but as is with a Classic day, it was full of promise and drama, none more so that with Ryan Moore getting Savethelastdance home in the Irish Oaks (pictured below). She needed every inch of it and she needed every drop of rain also.
There was a monsoon of a shower as the jockeys were leaving the weighing room which was a shame as there weren’t many in the bookies ring and the rain continued for the next 30 minutes.
Savethelastdance was a fantastic winner beating the sponsor’s runner in Bluestocking under Colin Keene for Juddmonte. Aidan O’Brien is entitled to now look at the St Leger and, of course, the Arc as who’s to say that if the Arc turns up soft, she wouldn’t have a chance in it? She traded at 1000/1 and you don’t see that very often in a Classic.
Before that, Art Power was so impressive in the Sapphire Stakes. That’s his fourth win at the Curragh now and what a horse he is for connections and the track. Connections now have a decision to make with him as they could go to York for the Nunthorpe or they could come back here for the Flying Five.
Henry Longfellow in the opening maiden was impressive. By Dubawi out of the seven-time Group 1 Ballydoyle filly Minding, he was awfully good in his first run so we can look forward to him.
Wet July weather
I didn’t think that the Curragh was going to be called off on the Sunday, I thought they would be all right as the Met Office only predicted five millimetres of rain, but apparently, they got 25 millimetres from the time the last race was over on Saturday to the time the inspection was called at 7:30am on Sunday morning.
It is a shame for any racecourse to have a meeting called off. All of the planning and logistics that go in are massive with bars and catering, so it wasn’t ideal, but it has been rescheduled for August 13th.
It’s strange that it is happening in July, but Clerk of the Course, Brendan Sheridan, was telling me that from the Irish Derby to the Oaks meeting, the Curragh had 26 inches of rain. That’s a phenomenal number. An inch or two inches is usual, not 20!
The Hurling Final
With there being no racing, it gave us the chance to watch the Hurling final, the Limerick-Kilkenny game. It was a fantastic game. Limerick are some team and the word that has been used is ‘machine’. Of course, we all know that JP McManus is their backer. Everyone is delighted for JP and the Limerick team. He puts a lot of money into it – it doesn’t come cheap, even with the logistics and background staff alone, which is 30 people strong.
This was Limerick’s fourth win in a row, and who’s to say they won’t be back next year for another?
Toppy’s Boy’s win at Kilbeggan
It was lovely to see Una Corcoran train a 66/1 winner at Kilbeggan last Friday. I knew her Dad, Toppy Cocoran. He had a license when he was alive and this is her first ever winner. Congratulations to her, and I was delighted to see her win with her dad’s namesake, Toppy’s Boy. Hopefully this’ll be the first of many wins for her.
The week ahead
It’s a busy week, with a two-day meeting in Ballinrobe, the Tattersalls July Sale on Wednesday and Thursday, and then of course the King George VI on Saturday – the highlight race of the midsummer.
I’m sending my nephew Sean there, but it looks a fantastic race and I’m half jealous that I’m not going. At the minute, I’m hoping that Auguste Rodin will turn up and have a fantastic race.
Then we’ve got the Galway Races, and the Dublin-Kerry football match. By the time of my next blog, I hope my chest will be out and I’ll be congratulating Kerry football team!
Until next week.