Teacher’s Pet At Downpatrick
Teacher’s Pet, who I mentioned in my last blog, progressed nicely to win off top weight in a competitive handicap hurdle in Downpatrick last Friday. The Northern air seems to agree with her as this was her second win from two runs at the track. Being such a bold jumper we are looking forward to going chasing with her next season. She is owned by J.P. McManus and it is always great to have a winner one of racing’s most loyal supporters. Persian Wind also ran well in Downpatrick on the same day in his first chase, finishing fifth. The plan is to run him in another chase in Punchestown before the ground changes. We think that he will develop into a nice handicap chaser next Spring for his very sporting owners, the Around The Fire Syndicate. We hear celebrations are always lively in Boggan’s Pub in Rathcore, win or lose! I was delighted to have that winner on Teacher’s Pet as I was having a touch of “seconditis” of late which is very frustrating for any jockey.
The new gallop at home is well and truly settled in now and was fenced this week. Dad rents the gallop out to some local trainers who also seem happy with it. As I mentioned before, taking the horses away to work is equally as important. We have been over to the Curragh once a week for the last few weeks and when schooling races start in Fairyhouse we will bring a few horses to them. This time of the year we tend to go away with the horses more as it is extremely beneficial for the younger horses to go in the horsebox to new surroundings and a new gallop.
I have been busy lately myself riding work for different yards on the Curragh. There are a lot of trainers based on the Curragh so it is worthwhile to be over there and in the middle of the action. Recently, I have been riding work for Martin Brassil, Alan Fleming and Henry De Bromhead. They all have plenty of nice horses and it is always a good experience to ride for different trainers and to see the way in which they do things.
The Flat Finale & Return of the National Hunt
This Saturday sees the curtains close on this year’s Irish Flat Season at Leopardstown. Even though I don’t ride on the flat anymore I still enjoy following it. Once again, this season we have seen some top class racing both at home and abroad. As would be expected, Aidan O’Brien has produced some exceptional looking horses and displayed his brilliance to be crowned Champion Trainer for the 18th consecutive season. The end of the flat season also marks the true beginning of the National Hunt season. Already in England last season’s World Hurdle winner, Thistlecrack, made a return to the track with an impressive chasing debut at Chepstow. Next weekend, the two-day festival at Down Royal looks set to be the stage for the return of some of Ireland and Britain’s National Hunt stars. We will also see the strong Willie Mulllins team out in force as soon as the ground changes as he usually likes to wait until then before he runs them.
This weekend as well as Leopardstown, there is racing from both Galway and Wexford on Sunday and Monday. Declarations will be out on Friday but I am hoping that with two meetings on I will have a few rides.