PAT HEALY: In his latest blog, Pat reflects on his hopes for 2023, an emotional day at Tramore on New Year’s Day,  The Real Whacker’s Cheltenham adventure and has the next Honeysuckle been found !

Hopes for 2023

Firstly, Happy New Year to you all!

We all have our own bucket lists and boxes to tick for the new year, and hopefully those will work out for everyone. Most importantly, I hope everyone stays healthy and safe.

From my own point of view the first thing I always wish for is Kerry to win the All-Ireland Football and for a fantastic Harvest Festival in Listowel in September.

Of course, with this being Frankie’s [Dettori] final year, I’ll be keeping an eye on him to make sure we can get him to the Harvest Festival. Already we’re planning well ahead and, while we’ve a lot of water to go under the bridge yet, we’re looking forward to it.

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Tramore on New Year’s Day

I was at Tramore on New Year’s Day, and I have to say, what an occasion it was.

There was a huge crowd there and an electric atmosphere on the course and around the town.

When Minella Indo and Stattler touched down after the second last, there was a wall of noise that erupted from the enclosures. Everyone there was willing on Minella Indo and Rachael Blackmore.

Both horses put up brilliant performances, and take nothing away from Stattler in defeat, but when Minella Indo got his head in front, the place just lifted.

You could see the emotion in Henry [de Bromhead] in the winners’ enclosure afterwards, as well as in Heather, his wife, and their daughters Mia and Georgia. Henry was actually in tears and the crowd gave him a brilliant reception.

You could see what it meant and how much Henry appreciated it as he punched the air and let out a ‘yahoo!’. It was just a pure sense of release.

It’s only a few months since poor Jack passed away. I’m in awe and have such admiration for Henry and Heather and Mia and Georgia, what they’re going through and how they’re handling everything. God bless them, they’re such a fantastic family.

We have to say a huge well done to Owen Byrne and his team at Tramore. They’re doing a fantastic job; they’re tapping into the local communities and they’re being rewarded with fantastic crowds.

The Real Whacker

Paddy Neville and owner Davy Mann deserve a mention after The Real Whacker won at Cheltenham (pictured below). Davy runs the Rathkeale House Hotel in County Limerick and is a great character.

It’s well documented that Davy drove to Dublin Airport, flew to Bristol, hired a car and drove on up to Cheltenham without going to bed. Davy has been known not to go to bed for a week, so I’m sure it wasn’t a bother to him!

Paddy used to train near to Rathkeale, so it’s great that the two could combine for such a big success at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. They’re on a fabulous journey now and we wish them all the best with The Real Whacker.

Mark and Sara O’Hare

Mark is based in County Down and is a well-known former amateur rider. Himself and Sarah were the people that started off Honeysuckle in a Dromahane maiden before selling her on.

They won the mares’ maiden at Dromahane the other day with a mare called Spindleberry, who is by Policy Maker, the sire of Chacun Pour Soi. I presume Spindleberry is now for sale and it’ll be interesting to see which ‘hotel’ she ends up in next!

Who’s to say that lightning can’t strike twice for Mark and Sara?

Until next week.

DAQMAN Weds: Kempton NAP
DAQSTATS Weds: Kempton NAP
THE STRIKER Weds: Sunderland v Fulham (FA Cup)
THE EDGE Thurs: India v Australia 1st Test
PAT HEALY blog: The Perfect Festival!
THE WEEK AHEAD: Super Bowl week !!
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