PAT HEALY: This week Pat recaps the latest jockey and trainer news from Ireland before stating his case for Rachael Blackmore to be crowned BBC World Sports Star of the Year.
Jockey and trainer news
It was great to see Paul Townend make a return to race riding with a treble at Fairyhouse over the weekend, and it’s brilliant to see our champion jockey back in action. At the minute he’s on 26 winners and 19 behind Darragh O’Keeffe  but you would still have to fancy Paul with the juggernaut of Willie Mullins behind him. He’ll be expecting to take a hold of that deficit in the next couple of weeks and maybe by the end of January actually be leading the Championship.
In other jockey news, it’s terrible to hear that Robbie ‘Puppy’ Power will be missing his Christmas rides for the first time in twenty years. His hip fracture unfortunately hasn’t come right in time, and we just wish Puppy all the best, hopefully we will see him back at the end of January at Gowran Park.
Finally, well done to Ronan McNally winning three handicap hurdles with Vee Dancer. Also, a big congratulations to Charles Byrnes who won back-to-back hurdles at Cheltenham with Blazing Khal. Fair play to both of them, it was great to see.
We wish Rachael all the best this weekend with her nomination for BBC World Sport Star of the Year. If anyone deserves it, she does. Never mind her exploits at Cheltenham, being crowned Champion Jockey with six winners and a Champion Hurdle, but to win the Aintree Grand National was something we never thought we would see, and it shows how much she’s done for female jockeys. For that alone, I think she deserves to win the award.
The Hong Kong International Races was a highlight of the weekend at Sha Tin and the best part for me was Golden Sixty. He is an unbelievable racehorse, notching up his 16th straight success in a row, and 19th in all. To put it in perspective he started off racing at 62 and has climbed the heights to 131. If you were to put him on a par with a European horse, he would probably be up there with Baaeed, and the fact he is locally ridden by Chris Ho makes it a fantastic success for Hong Kong racing.