PAT HEALY: This week Pat reflects on a cracking festive period of racing and shares his thoughts on the new Rachael Blackmore documentary.
It’s always an exciting time of the year but looking back over the last week, the anticipation and excitement didn’t disappoint. There was triumphs and disappointments all around and no more so than in the King George. It was a triumph to have an Irish winner but really disappointing to see the Gold Cup winner Minella Indo not perform – he’s probably a better horse in the spring anyway but hopefully Henry [de Bromhead] can get him back to his best.
It was great to see Shishkin and it’s hugely exciting to think of the clash between him and Energumene when it happens. Hopefully they’ll both stay in one piece and get to Cheltenham in good form because there’s nothing more exciting than a 2m chaser at full tilt, and we’re lucky to have two world class performers in them both this season.
It was a phenomenal achievement for Willie and Patrick [Mullins] to land the four bumpers at Leopardstown, especially in these times when all racehorse trainers are so professional and good. It just shows the force of the Mullins operation, and from our point of view it’ll be interesting to see which turns out to be the best. I was thrilled for Tim O’Driscoll, the owner of Redemption Day, he’s put a lot in to the game as an owner the past 15 years and for him to have a horse like Redemption Day who was hugely impressive is well deserved.
It was also fantastic to see Sharjah winning his fourth Matheson Hurdle, he’s a brilliant racehorse and while of course he’s not in the same league as Hurricane Fly or Istabraq, he’s a horse we’d all love to own, not least because he’s knocking on the door of that magical million in prize money! He probably won’t run now until March but who’s to say that if, God forbid, Honeysuckle got a headache then Sharjah can’t be a Champion Hurdle winner.
Davey Russel was at his brilliant best on Galvin to win the Savills Chase, and it was another great result for his owner Ronnie Bartlett, who puts so much into the game. Ronnie’s had Cheltenham Festival success down the years, but it’s great to see him win a huge Garde 1 race like that.
Rachael Blackmore A Grand Year
It was great to see this documentary on RTE this week and it just showed what a brilliant family the Blackmores are, from her mother Emer to her father Charles. It was brilliant that her story was told far and wide by Ross Whitaker the producer. It just goes to show again that for racing to get an hours’ worth of primetime television, it’s all down to Rachael and her exploits. A huge congratulations to her and all involved.