PAT HEALY: Why money can’t buy the publicity Rachael Blackmore has given to racing and it’s a Leoparstown and Limerick Christmas …

The truth

I suppose I have to start by getting something off my chest and that is I am in love with Rachael Blackmore. I’ve hidden it for a long, long time but I finally must admit it. In all seriousness, racing is so lucky to have her. What she has done for racing, money just couldn’t buy the newspaper columns, the airwaves time, the television time, and the social media space, what she has done for racing this year money just couldn’t buy. The way she carries herself, her personality, the way she communicates with people and gives them time, we all realise that in a rushing world it’s not easy to give time to strangers, but she never fails to deliver on that. Any mother or father would be proud if their child grew up to be exactly like Rachael. Her awards this week are truly deserved and it’s amazing to see the RTE Sports Personality award being awarded to a jockey, for the first time since Barry Geraghty won it in 2003, along with the BBC World Sports Star award. Long may she stay fit, healthy and continue achieving what she’s doing because racing is so lucky to have her.

Christmas festivals

It’s that time of year where Leopardstown and Limerick come into their own and I can’t wait. I’d like to wish the tracks all the best over the few days, because of course we’re still in a pandemic and it’s a challenging adjustment with a cap on attendances, which is obviously a financial concern. I hope there’s plenty of rain to go round in the lead up to these festivals and there’s no issue with the ground. We live in a world now where even at Christmas time ground can be an issue, tracks are so well drained that they’re more like golf courses, and even Leopardstown have had a watering programme in place the last few weeks, which seems mad from the outside. But all we can hope is that everything goes to plan and there’s no issues because, as I’ve said before in this blog, it’s a tough decision to make regarding watering and looking after the course and I’m not envious of those making the decisions.

Finally, I’d like to wish everybody a Happy Christmas and a safe festive period with friends and family, and most of all enjoy the racing over the next few days!