PAT HEALY: With his weekly wrap on the racing stories catching his eyes. Starting with Irish success at Belmont Park and Paddington striking at Sandown in the four-runner Group 1 Eclipse.
Fozzy, Fish and Onions at Belmont Park
It was fantastic to have an Irish success at Belmont Park on Saturday, with Aspen Grove winning the Grade 1 Belmont Derby for Fozzy Stack and Oisin ‘Onion’ Murphy.
Well done to Mark ‘Fish’ Enright too, who only recently retired from the saddle on Guineas weekend, having ridden Aspen Grove in the 1000 Guineas. Fish has been a big cog in the team, and Fozzy obviously entrusted him to go to New York with the filly, so he was over there for the few days leading up to the race looking after her and riding her out.
Congratulations on a fantastic win to Fozzy and his team and to Onion who gave her a lovely ride.
Onion was unlucky not to have a double on the night when The Foxes didn’t break too well in the Belmont Derby only to fly home to finish second.
Paddington eclipses rivals
There were only the four runners in the Eclipse, but it was still a fantastic spectacle and an exciting race (pictured below). Emily Upjohn lost nothing in defeat, but what a horse Paddington has turned out to be. He won the Madrid Handicap off a mark of 97 at Naas back in March, and it’s amazing to think that three of this next four wins have all been Group 1s.
He’s clearly a brilliant horse and is a testament to his trainer Aidan O’Brien and the team at Ballydoyle. They just have this incredible knack of improving horses. Well done to Aidan and his team.
Bellewstown well worth a visit
It was the Bellewstown Festival last Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I was there for the first two days, and I have to say what a great festival it was.
Bellewstown is one of the attractions of the Irish racing calendar. The course occupies a unique location on the hill of Crockafotha. It’s a brilliant venue, well supported by the locals and there’s always a good atmosphere.
They have a fantastic race committee there too, and they’re always making improvements. This year they did a big job putting down an all-weather surface around the parade ring and down to the stable yard. They’re always forward thinking and last week they were rewarded with three great days of racing and crowds.
If you’re looking to visit a different Irish racetrack, get Bellewstown on your list, it’s well worth a trip.
Hard work pays off at Naas
I travel round all the racetracks and it’s great to see them all looking and doing well. They’re a great advertisement for Irish racing.
On Saturday I was at Naas and I have to give a big mention to track manager Eamonn McEvoy. Every time you go there, there are little improvements that have been made around the enclosures.
They’ve planted lovely hedging around the parade ring, and there are always trees and flowers being planted around the place too. It all adds to the look of the place and there’s a real feel-good experience at the track.
They were rewarded with a fantastic Saturday crowd, which was great to see.
Kerry GAA set for semi-final date
This Sunday we’re back in the ‘Big House’ for a semi final date with Derry. We’ll be making the trip up to Croke Park and we’re looking forward to a great day out.
Dublin play Monaghan on Saturday so by the time the ball is thrown in at 4pm on Sunday we’ll know one half of the final.
Fingers crossed we’ll get over the line against the Derry team.
Until next week.