PAT HEALY: Irish racing photographer and Brand Ambassador Pat Healy is excited to see Ghaiyyath run at the Irish Champions Weekend in what is a bumper weekend of racing in both Ireland and the UK.
Irish Champions weekend
I like many am really looking forward to Irish Champions weekend. It’s been a fantastic innovation for Irish racing and where it sits in the calendar, three weeks before the Arc, means we are treated to the best horses in Europe taking each other on. This year is no different with the world’s best horse, Ghaiyyath, looking likely to run in the Irish Champion Stakes. That’s a big coup alone for the organisers and with the relaxation in the rules for jockeys travelling over now, it should mean that William Buick is able to partner him again.
As I mentioned, the whole thing has been a huge success as it’s really put Irish racing on the map whilst it’s taking place. Racing fans from across the globe will be tuning into the watch the Group 1s and that can only be a good thing for the sport. We saw last year with Pinatubo winning the National Stakes the furore the meeting can create and hopefully this year is no different.
We’re really spoilt this weekend with the St Leger also taking place at Doncaster on Saturday. Unsurprisingly, Aidan O’Brien looks to hold strong claims of winning it again with Santiago and Aidan will be hoping he can go one better than the only time I went over to Doncaster to photograph the race in 2012. Camelot was seeking the Triple Crown that day but he was unfortunately just touched off by Encke in what was a bit of a shock result. This year’s renewal looks another intriguing contest on paper and it caps off what’s sure to be a memorable couple of days racing.
Oisin Murphy enjoyed another fantastic day at Haydock on Saturday as he rode Dream Of Dreams to success in the Sprint Cup. It was great to see him continue such a fantastic season and it wasn’t a bad 25th birthday present either! He’s operating at an 18% strike rate this season, while he’s already ridden 100 winners and he just seems to go from strength-to-strength.
‘Onion’ as he’s known, is a top-class jockey as well as being a great communicator which is so important these days. He comes across really well on TV and he’s become a great role model for any young, aspiring jockey which is a real feather in his cap. He deserves great credit for his work both on and off the course and I’d like to wish him many happy returns.
Enable did what she had to do at Kempton and that should have set her nicely up for her duel with Love in the Arc next month. It’s shaping up to be one of the clashes of the past few seasons and at this stage it’s so hard to split the pair. Both are incredibly talented fillies and it will be a fascinating contest which can’t come soon enough.
There’s not too long to go until the Harvest Festival at Listowel gets underway on the 20th of this month. It’s looking likely that the pubs in Ireland will be open during the festival and while fans still won’t be able to go racing, I’m sure there will be a great buzz around the town.
Preparations are going really well and we’re looking forward to getting underway in a few days’ time. Hopefully the weather behaves itself and we can get a great week of racing.