PAT HEALY: In his latest blog: “…. social media went bananas and it got everyone talking.” Pat on Constitution Hill, Troytown Day at Navan and will Honeysuckle blossom again on Sunday? ….
Awesome Constitution Hill
Constitution Hill’s win last Saturday was great for racing; social media went bananas and it got everyone talking.
I was at Gowran Park, but, like everyone, I was watching the race with anticipation and interest.
We certainly weren’t disappointed! Everyone has heard the superlatives that have been spread around about his performance on the day and I have to say, as a neutral, it was awesome.
His withdrawal at Ascot is well forgotten, as I predicted in last week’s blog, and we now look forward to his next appearance at Kempton at Christmas, to see if he can continue in the same vein of form and can run up a string of performances like at Newcastle.
I’m lucky enough to have seen brilliant, brilliant hurdlers. I saw Dawn Run, Istabraq, Hurricane Fly, Faugheen (I could go on) and, of course, Honeysuckle – she’s a dual Champion Hurdle winner, we can’t forget that.
In my opinion, I would like to see Constitution Hill win two or three Champion Hurdles before he can be called ‘the greatest of all-time’.
It’s brilliant for the game. This is something that we haven’t had for a couple of years now – this is the Irish against the English in one of the main events at the main event itself. Betting wise, it looks as though the Irish are going to be going in as the underdog too.
If the right horses are running, people will show up
One side event of the day at Newcastle was that there were no trains running, and yet they had one of their biggest crowds in years.
You see racecourses putting on bands after racing, giving concessions and trying everything they can to get people in the gate, but I think Newcastle proved that if you have the right horses running, people will show up and enjoy their day out.
Troytown Day at Navan
Last Sunday was Troytown day at Navan, and we have to give a hat-tip and round of applause to the Navan Racecourse general manager, Aidan McGarry, and his team.
They had their biggest crowd at Navan for years and years. It was a fantastic day and there was a great buzz about the place. There was a marquee beside the parade ring and there was a fellow inside there singing all day. I must say, going in and out of the press room after every race, I was wishing more and more as the day went on that I was in there, with a pint in my hand enjoying the music and the craic!
As always, there were triumphs and disappointments on the day. American Mike was obviously a disappointment, as he was touted as one of the star horses of the season and his run was just too bad to be true.
On the positive side, Willie Mullins and Cheveley Park Stud seem to have a proper horse on their hands in Grangeclare West. He was awful impressive in his maiden hurdle. Paul Townend shouted over to me as they were going back into the parade ring, “you’ll be snapping this fella on bigger stages”.
To top off the day there was a fantastic success for Keith ‘Jacksy’ Donoghue to win the Troytown Chase. He’s a local lad, so to win the flagship race at Navan aboard The Big Dog was a great moment and a real feather in his cap. We’re all delighted for him.
Honeysuckle on Sunday
We’re off to Fairyhouse this weekend and I’m excited to see Honeysuckle in the Grade 1 Hatton’s Grace Hurdle.
Hopefully the weather will be kind, the place will be packed to the rafters and we’ll see her win her fourth Hatton’s Grace, which I’m sure would bring the roof down.
Until next week.