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PAT HEALY: This week Pat has a lot on his mind, from the highs and lows of Fairyhouse last weekend to a discussion on ground conditions for the Christmas period.

Rollercoaster at Fairyhouse

It was a rollercoaster of a day at Fairyhouse last Sunday, it really was. The atmosphere was electric the whole day but in particular when it came to the Hatton’s Grace for Honeysuckle and Rachael [Blackmore]. The reception that horse and jockey received from the crowd was spectacular and one that we haven’t witnessed in a few years because of the restrictions. The reception was truly deserved for Honeysuckle, who has earned her spot as one of the true greats of the jumping game.Of course, the downside on the day was the demise of Latest Exhibition, and to see the heartbreak for his groom Ciara Walsh and Paul Nolan’s kids Barry and Sarah. It really showed the other side of the Jump racing game. My heart goes out to Paul and his yard. He was a great horse and probably their flagbearer, so to go home and wake up to an empty box on Monday morning must have been heart breaking for the whole team.

Let’s talk about ground

Leopardstown put out an announcement that they will commence watering ahead of their big four-day meeting at Christmas which just shows the precarious position that racetracks can find themselves in without rain. I’m sure there are more educated people dealing with the matter than I, but you must question whether it’s a good thing to be watering a racetrack in December? Is it good for the track, good for ground in future? It raises a lot of questions, and it just shows that if you do get a dry spell these days, it’s a tough situation to find yourself in if you make the decisions at the racetrack because you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.


It’s going to be another fantastic Grade 1 for Irish racing it looks like this weekend with 17 horses entered in the John Durkan. The racing on the other side of the Irish sea isn’t so bad either with the Tingle Creek and it’s sure to be an intriguing two day’s racing. It’s weekends like these which make us enjoy the game and realise why we love it so much. The best horses come out and strut their stuff and it’s going to be fascinating to see how the big names like Chacun Pour Soi, Envoi Allen and Allaho get on over the weekend. I’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on proceedings!