PAT HEALY: This week Pat hails Enable as an all-time great after another impressive victory, looks ahead to The Galway Races, and pays tribute to the late Tommy McGivern.
After winning her third King George on Saturday, there is no doubt that Enable is one of the greats and we’re very lucky to have been around to see her in action. Personally, I don’t think it matters that she only had two rivals as she can only beat what’s put in front of her. She couldn’t have done it much better and looked as if she is back to somewhere near her best which bodes very well with the Arc in mind. She didn’t have a hard race and it will be interesting to see which race they decide to run her in at York. There’s a strong possibility she could take on Love in the Yorkshire Oaks which has all the makings of a matchup for the ages.
I would have loved to have been at Ascot on Saturday and it was one of the real moments of the season so far that I’ve been sad to have missed. It will go down in history as one of those races you want to be able to witness first hand. I actually FaceTimed my son Jack and we watched the race together because it was one of those ‘where were you?’ moments and it was great I was able to watch it with him.
The King George only had three runners which was obviously a bit disappointing for the viewing public, but I did think it showed what a brilliant operation Aidan O’Brien and Coolmore are. I don’t think people in England realise the logistics they are having to overcome on a daily and weekly basis. As well as running one of the biggest operations in racing, they are now having to deal with the fact that many of their staff have had to stay in England since the Guineas meeting in early June and they’ll probably still be there until the Ebor meeting at York next month. It’s really made things tricky for them and to be still doing what they are doing just shows how brilliant an operation and team Aidan has at his disposal.
The Galway Festival got underway on Monday and it was the first meeting since racing got going again that you really noticed the lack of people. Galway has a unique atmosphere and is a very special place and it’s just such a shame that we’re not able to celebrate it quite as we’ve done in the past. It really hit you that this is the way things are for the foreseeable future and I just hope that this is the only year we have things like this. There has to be a worry that if it does carry on racecourses are going to really struggle as they can afford to miss one big meeting, but they really can’t afford to miss them
We’re obviously very lucky to be racing and hats off to those who have got it off the ground, but there’s no doubt it’s not racing as we know and love.
I’d like to pass on my condolences and best wishes to the family of Tommy McGivern whose funeral it was last week. Tommy was a top-class jump jockey of the 70s and 80s and it was so sad to see him pass away. He was a lovely man and a real character in the weighing room who always had a story or two to tell. I got to know him well while he worked as a stall handler at Dundalk and it was always a real pleasure to talk to him.
It was a lovely touch by the stalls handlers at Killarney last week when they took a minute’s silence to remember Tommy – a lovely tribute to a lovely man.