PAT HEALY: Pat’s already dreaming of Triple Crown glory as far as City Of Troy goes but says “I think the Guineas next May is going to be the hardest part”.
Triple Crown dreams
Newmarket was all about Ballydoyle, as they bagged the two Group 1s with Ylang Ylang and City Of Troy (pictured below). That brought up Aidan’s [O’Brien] 16th and 17th Group 1 winners of the season, with Champions Day, the Breeders’ Cup and Hong Kong still to go. Aidan holds the record for most Group 1 wins in a year with 28, after he surpassed the great Bobby Frankel’s record in 2017, and while he won’t match that he’s still going to have had a more than satisfactory season.
The superlatives were flying after City Of Troy’s performance in the Dewhurst, drawing comparisons to the mighty Frankel, so he’s going to have a lot to live up to.
John Magnier, his owner, and of course the main man behind Ballydoyle and Coolmore is someone you could say changed horse racing and breeding. Every man has a dream, and at the minute, after achieving virtually everything in his career, John’s dream, according to his son MV [Magnier], who was interviewed on television, is to win a Triple Crown.
August Rodin was mentioned as a Triple Crown horse this year but didn’t get over the first hurdle in the Guineas, and it seems they’re going into the winter dreaming that City Of Troy could be their Triple Crown horse.
We’ll all dream too. I remember Camelot going for it, I was at Doncaster that day. It hasn’t been done since Nijinsky in 1970, so it’s a monumental achievement. I think the Guineas next May is going to be the hardest part for City Of Troy, as to me he looked like an out-and-out stayer when he won the other day. If he can win the Guineas over a mile, then he’ll be a short price to complete the second two legs, I imagine.
We have to give Emmet Mullins huge praise for winning the Cesarewitch with The Shunter. He’s a 10-year-old now and he’s won a Greatwood Hurdle in Cheltenham, he won a Morebattle Hurdle in Kelso, he won a Paddy Power Plate at the Cheltenham Festival and now he’s added a Cesarewitch win at Newmarket to those.
What a horse and what a training performance from Emmet to go along with his other successes. Yet again Emmet has proved that when he has his eye on a prize, he normally doesn’t come away empty handed. Well done to him.
I was at Portrush Point-to-Point on Saturday, at the famous seaside town in County Antrim, which is of course renown for Royal Portrush Golf Club which has hosted the Open Championship on two occasions.
We had a great day’s racing. The four-year-old maiden was won by Colin Bowe and Barry O’Neill on a horse called Jurancon, who is by Free Port Lux. He’s now bound for the Cheltenham Sale in November.
Clashhill, by Ocavango, gave well-known point-to-point supporter and horse trader Wilson Dennison his first success of the new season.
Also on the card, northern-based jockey Dara McGill had a double, and there was a first winner in the final race for 20-year-old Erin Dunseath, who’s from Randalstown in County Antrim, aboard a horse she also owns herself, called Mountorra.
Dylan Browne McMonagle
Naas was the port of call on Sunday, where in-form jockey Dylan Browne McMonagle rode a double for his boss Joseph O’Brien. Dylan was telling us that he’s off to Australia for the winter, where he’s going to spend a few months with Ciaron Maher in Melbourne. I think that’s bound to benefit him. Like in any walk of life, it’s good for these jockeys to go abroad, to go to places like America and Australia and learn new tricks of the trade.
If you were buying shares in a jockey at the moment, Dylan Browne McMonagle would be your first purchase. He’s a young jockey going places; we know he can ride, we know he’s got a great personality and great communication skills. He’s in the right ‘hotel’ with Joseph O’Brien too and I’m sure when he comes back from Australia in the new year, he’ll be sharper and better again. We wish him all the best.
Frankie rides on
Frankie [Dettori] announced last week that he’s going to ride on and fair play to him. I was always of the opinion that at 52, he had no need to retire, so I won’t be surprised if we’re watching Frankie boot home the winners for another four or five years. He’ll keep us all interested watching the racing from California. I’m sure he’ll be a success and good luck to him.
Grand National changes
The changes were widely discussed in the media. I’ve read and heard a lot of people having an opinion on it. From my point of view, as a lover of horse racing, a lover of jump racing and a lover of the Grand National, I would hate it if we came to three or four years down the line and we had more tinkering with the National. If there is in a few years’ time, well then I think you’d have to worry about the future of the race as we know it.