PAT HEALY: This week Pat praises Frankie Dettori’s ride in the Irish Derby despite some criticism, and highlights a pair of jockeys with bright futures.
Irish Derby reflections
Having had a few days to reflect on it, it looks as if this year’s Irish Derby will go down as a great one. Beforehand, we all thought it had all the makings of being a proper race and so it proved, with two very good three-year-olds pulling clear of the field. When two horses do that it’s always a sign that they are above average and I’d expect both to take pretty high honours as the season goes on.
Some people thought Frankie [Dettori] kicked too soon and that’s what cost him and Lone Eagle the race, but I thought he gave his horse a peach of a ride. He was so close to nicking it on the front end and I think you just have to say he was beaten by a better animal on the day. I always say judge a jockey on a losing ride not a winning one and Frankie’s ride on Saturday was as good a one as you’ll see anywhere. William Buick gave his horse a super ride too and credit needs to go to him and Hurricane Lane.
A word needs to go out to Charlie Appleby also. To train the Derby and Irish Derby winner in the same season is no mean feat. He’s really stamping his authority on the Flat racing game now and is a huge cog in the Godolphin wheel these days. He’s got such a strong bunch of horses and you’d have to think they’ll be plenty more Derby success stories on the horizon for him. He’s a lovely man, who is great craic and I wish him all the very best as he’s one of the good guys in the racing game.
It was a fantastic day at the Curragh and it was brilliant to see racegoers back on course. The racecourse did a great job and to have the sun out made it all that bit more special. It did feel much more back to the norm that we were so used to before the pandemic with people cheering the horses home and let’s just hope this is the first step in the right direction. Racing needs crowds and fingers crossed we’re moving towards a place where we’ll have them back in full capacity.
Thundering Nights’ win in the Pretty Polly on Sunday was a superb training performance by Joseph O’Brien. To bring her back from New York after just three weeks is a tremendous feat and probably avenges that defeat in America, where she was a bit unlucky and perhaps on another day would have won. It was also fantastic for Shane Crosse to get his second Group 1 too and he’s forming quite a partnership with Joseph. They are two young men that are going places. Shane is another young fella who cut his teeth in the pony racing game, and this is just another step in his progression. He’s improving at a rate of knots that’s for sure.
Two young jockeys to look out for
I just wanted to single out two young jockeys who got their first winners on Thursday at Bellewstown. Firstly, Jamie Powell, who is attached to the Johnny Murtagh stable, which, as we know, is absolutely flying at the moment. Everyone was delighted to see Jamie get his first winner and for those who don’t know, he is the son of the much loved and much missed former Jump jockey Anthony Powell. Hopefully this kickstarts Jamie’s career and I’ll certainty be keeping a close eye on how he gets on in the coming months.
Also, you had young John Gleeson, son of TV presenter Brian Gleeson, riding his first winner in the amateur ranks. He’s a really great kid and it was no surprise to see him thank John Kiely, who has helped him begin his riding career, as well as Joseph O’Brien, who gave him the chance.