PAT HEALY: Pat starts in Paris with the brilliant win of Ace Impact on Sunday in the Arc at Longchamp.
What a brilliant winner of the Arc Ace Impact (pictured below) was! It reminded me of Dancing Brave coming down the outside of the vast Longchamp straight. Who would have thought that then we won at Cagnes-Sur-Mer in January he’d turn out to be the Arc winner, but it just shows how much they progress.
Fair play to Jean-Claude Rouget, who always stated he was a very special animal, and his confidence has been vindicated. My hats go off to him and also to the jockey, Christian Demuro.
It’s fantastic for French racing as there had been a few questions about the standard and whether it had slipped, but to see a French horse win its country’s flagship race will have put many of those doubts to bed.
Connections have a big decision to make as to whether he stays in training or not. Given his record, he’d surely be very busy at stud, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who would love to see him run as a four-year-old. We want to see these top-classes horses staying in training, so let’s hope they decide to roll the dice again next season.
You have to give huge credit to Ralph Beckett and Westover for another brilliant run. He’s such a good horse and what a year he has had. What’s amazing is that it could have been even better had things slightly fallen differently, but it’s still been a fantastic season and the whole team deserves great credit.
Like with Ace Impact, I don’t see any reason why he can’t come back again next season and compete for all of those big pots. Hopefully he’ll get his day in the sun because he deserves it.
Highfield Princess and Opera Singer
I also thought both Highfield Princess and Opera Singer were very impressive in their respective races at Longchamp. The former was back to her best and looked the winner from a long way out, which doesn’t happen very often in these sprint races. She justified her favourite’s tag and has been a star for her connections, particularly over the last couple of years.
Opera Singer looks a potential star and will surely be one for the Classics next year. Aidan O’Brien looked thrilled with her performance on Sunday and I expect we’ll be hearing plenty about her over the next year or so.
Killarney and Bellewstown
Both Killarney and Bellewstown had their last meetings of the year last week. Both have enjoyed fantastic seasons and all the staff at both tracks deserve huge congratulations for the work they have put in. Both courses are progressing rapidly and the racing is getting better and better, so we’ll look forward to heading back to both next year.
The Irish Point-to-Point season is up and running, which is always great viewing. Castletown Geoghegan staged the first meeting of the new season and you can expect some brilliant racing over the next few months. Point-to-Points are very important for Irish racing these days and many of the top-class horses we see at the likes of Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown start life in this format, so we need to support them as best we can.