PAT HEALY: This week Pat reflects on a successful Breeders’ Cup, a tough injury spell for Jack Kennedy, and a tribute to two great ambassadors of the sport – Andrew McNamara and Eric Browne.
What a great spectacle last week’s Breeders’ Cup was and a huge congratulations must go to Charlie Appleby, William Buick and the whole Godolphin team. Charlie Appleby obviously stole the show and the drama that was present throughout the weekend just added to the box office entertainment for us watching on television at home. Charlie bought up his 17th Grade 1 leaving him just one behind Aidan O’Brien for the year, so this just caps off what has been a fantastic time for him and his team. He’s a lovely man and is reaping the rewards of a lifetime’s worth of hard work and dedication to his craft.
It looks like Jack will be out of action for some time now and it’s just so gutting for him. I think this is the fifth time he’s been injured since he joined the professional ranks a short while ago. We wish him all the best and a speedy recovery, so we can all enjoy his talents on course again soon. I just hope that when he does come back, he’ll manage to get a decent injury-free run at being a Jump jockey, because God knows what he’ll be able to achieve then.
Two men passed away last week that have given so much to the sport. Andrew McNamara from Croom, County Limerick, was a truly lovely, lovely man. It was always a pleasure to be in his company, he was always full of stories, full of life and full of laughter and never mind the fact he trained a Cheltenham winner with Boreen Prince who won the Arkle, before remarkably also running in the Gold Cup the same year. He’s one of few people that can say they have trained a Cheltenham Festival winner while also having sons ride winners at the Festival too. I’d like pass on my condolences to his wife Kathleen, his sons Robbie and Andrew, and his daughter Liz.
A good friend of mine from Listowel, Eric Browne, was laid to rest this week and he was very much what we Irish call a great character and loveable rogue. Anybody in Listowel town, from 9 years of age to 99 years of age could have a great craic with Eric. A light has gone out in our great town with the passing of Eric, and we will certainly miss him. Again, I’d like to pass on my condolences to his wife Mary, his son Berkie, and daughters Jani and Sarah.