PAT HEALY: Only has three letters for Flightline’s performance in Breeders’ Cup Classic …… OMG !!!


OMG, it’s probably young person’s speak, but it describes the performance of Flightline in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last Saturday.

It was just one of those days in racing when I was delighted to say I was there. The minute he came into the parade ring – I watched him, I walked beside him and followed him out onto the track – you could see he’s such an impressive flat horse – he wouldn’t look out of place going to the start at Cheltenham for the Arkle Chase.

He has a white marking on his neck and a big scar on his backside, which was a result of an accident when he was a foal. As a specimen of a racehorse, he’s completely different to flat horses I’ve seen – great flat horses like Frankel and Sea The Stars.

He produced a performance that was just jaw-dropping. The speed he and Life Is Good attacked the race with, and for him to keep it up to the line, was unbelievable.

He got a fantastic reception. People stayed in the stands and they applauded him. Okay, I’ve seen better receptions down the years for the likes of Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. I suppose Zenyatta had home support at Santa Anita, and American Pharoah and Justify were Triple Crown horses. Maybe Flightline, not being a Triple Crown horse, didn’t quite capture the imagination of the American public as much. But the guts of the 50,000 people at Keeneland gave him the reception he deserved.

He’s off to stud now after only six races, but that’s an argument for another day. He’s now valued as the most expensive racehorse of all-time, so who’s to argue with his connections that they’ve sent him off.

Charlie Appleby and Aidan O’Brien

The rest of the meeting was dominated by Aidan O’Brien and Charlie Appleby. It was fantastic to have so much ‘European’ success.

Personally, I was over the moon with three Irish winners. We’ve often come back from the Breeders’ Cup with none. For Ballydoyle to have a record three winners over the meeting was absolutely fantastic for Irish racing.

It just shows you how Aidan improves his horses as the season goes on. Victoria Road is testament to that. He lost his first four races, before winning his maiden in Gowran Park in August, and then he goes on to triumph at the Breeders’ Cup.

Meditate’s win in the Juvenile Fillies’ Turf obviously made you think of Tahiyra, Dermot Weld’s Aga Khan filly. What she did to Meditate at the Curragh on Champions Day was breath taking. It just makes you dream about Tahiyra over the winter. She’s obviously going to be a very special filly to look forward to next season.


Ryan Moore

We have to tip our hat to Ryan Moore, he was just sublime around Keeneland. The turf track there is a tight, tight venue and Ryan rode the rollercoaster, waited for his chances and took them. The same goes for William Buick.

It was great to see James Doyle bagging his first Breeders’ Cup winner too. It’s been a fantastic season for James, okay he got an injury a couple of weeks back, but he bagged his first Classics back in May and to top it off with a Breeders’ Cup win (pictured below) was well deserved.


Envoi Allen

I was watching Down Royal from America and it was great to see Envoi Allen back to winning ways in Grade 1 company. We all know what he did as a young horse, and the high esteem that Gordon [Elliott] always held him in. Who’s to say that he’s not going to go on now and truly confirm that promise for his new trainer, Henry de Bromhead.


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