PAT HEALY: “You don’t have to go up to the Curragh, you can go to your local pub or you can sit at home, watch the television and bet on your phone. That’s the way the world has gone.” Pat starts this week’s blog with a frustration over racecourse attendance moaners.


Stop knocking attendances

People are obsessed now with attendances. I hate to see racetracks knocked because of what people on social media think is a small attendance; it really gets my back up. There were around 11,000 people at the Curragh last Sunday and I thought it was a fantastic crowd. There was a great atmosphere and people enjoyed themselves, which is the important thing.

I hear everyone now harking back to the old days, but I keep reminding people that the old days are gone and they’re not coming back. The fact of the matter now is that if you live in Newbridge or Kildare town, you don’t have to go up to the Curragh, you can go to your local pub or you can sit at home, watch the television and bet on your phone. That’s the way the world has gone.

I’m always of the opinion that the big days are holding their own and the small days are getting smaller, and that’s just the way things are going. I just think that people should stop knocking racetracks and harking back to the old days; just enjoy the sport and get on with it.

If all the people around the Curragh turn up again next year, it’ll be another great day. I’m sure they will too as the Curragh is a fantastic racetrack and a fantastic facility.

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Irish Derby

It was a fantastic day and fantastic to see the Epsom Derby winner, Auguste Rodin, back up that success. He was probably a bit workmanlike, but he’s now a dual Classic winner so there’s no doubt he’s a top-class three-year-old and we’ll look forward to seeing where he goes next.

It was Ryan Moore’s first success in the race, and another box ticked on his CV, while it was Aidan O’Brien’s 15th win in the race and also marked his 100th European Classic win. It’s an amazing statistic and, as we all know, Aidan is an amazing man. He’s 54 years of age, doesn’t have a grey hair on his head, and who’s to say that he won’t be around training for the next 20 or 30 years? What are the final tallies going to be if he keeps going the way he is? Frightening numbers!

We also must send our best wishes to Wayne Lordan after his fall in the Derby. Hopefully, he’ll be on the road to recovery very soon.


No need to change the Derby

It’s a pity there weren’t more English or French challengers. Some people say that the Irish Derby should be shortened in distance to make it a mile-and-two furlongs, like the French Derby. But look, the Derby is the Derby. The Epsom Derby is a mile-and-a-half and I think the Irish Derby should be kept at that distance too.

If we did need to do something drastic to improve the race, you could maybe swap it with the Irish Oaks and run it in the middle of July as opposed to the end of June. But then that’s going to impinge on the King George at the end of July.

I love the Irish Derby; I think it’s a great race and I’d be a fan of the Curragh too. I went to the Curragh a lot of times in the 80s and the 90s and we had no Irish winners of the Irish Derby, so every time there’s an Irish winner, I’m happy.


Another big win for Adrian Murray

It was great to see County Westmeath trainer Adrian Murray have a big win with Bucanero Fuerte. His nephew, young Thomas Byrne, was with him in the parade ring and it was fantastic to see young Thomas enjoying the occasion too.

It was a fine performance by Adrian and his team, of which Robson Aguiar is a big cog in their operation. Adrian has had a fantastic season and who is to say that there are no more Group wins to come for his small stable?


A family success

Harry’s Hill recorded a fantastic success for the Hassett family, with Martin putting up his nephew Wayne in the saddle.

Martin is having a great season and it just shows when people get the right horses, they can make a success of them, and Martin is a testament to that. We wish him all our congratulations.


Murtagh treble

Johnny Murtagh had three winners on Derby weekend. Johnny is a bottle of enthusiasm and there were great celebrations when Mashhoor won the International Stakes on Saturday for the Brunabonne Syndicate.

Godolphin now only have one horse in training in Ireland and that’s Safecracker, who had his day in the final race of the Derby Festival to cap a great weekend for Johnny and his team.


Hayes wins Ladies’ Derby

Saturday’s Ladies’ Derby was won by Amy Jo Hayes, as she recorded her 10th career win.

Amy Jo is attached to the Andrew Slattery yard and is a lovely kid. You can tell she’s improving the whole time and it was a big feather in her cap to have the likes of Rachael Blackmore, Maxine O’Sullivan and Siobhan Rutledge finish behind her. Well done Amy Jo.


Must watch interview

Racing TV broadcast Luck On Sunday live from the Curragh on the morning of the Derby. It was a great show as it always is. Nick Luck is probably the best media personality in the game; he always does a great job and comes across so well.

I think his interview with Seamie Heffernan was fascinating. They should play that interview in the racing schools, in Kildare and in Newmarket. Seamie is just the perfect role model for any young kid in the Flat racing game. In his interview, he covers the years going back to when he rode his first winner in 1988, his time in Ballydoyle – he was there when Aidan O’Brien first started and Christy Roche was his first stable jockey – and it was just a brilliant to watch.

Nick Luck asked all the right questions and Seamie was so open and honest. I have to say well done Racing TV for their fantastic Luck On Sunday show from the Curragh.


Kerry GAA

We won our quarter-final last Saturday against Tyrone. The fact that it’s July and we were playing in the ‘Big House’ [Croke Park] against our old rivals, I think it’s like a horse having the sun on its back and the better ground. There was a pep in our step, and we put in a fantastic performance.

Now we march into the semi-final against Derry. Dublin and Monaghan are on the other side of the draw, so from every Kerry supporter’s point of view, the dream final is a Kerry v Dublin. Hopefully, we’ll get our dream on the last Sunday in July.

Until next week.
PAT


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