PAT HEALY: This week Pat reflects on the week that was at the Galway Races and looks ahead to Tarnawa’s run at Leopardstown.
The Galway Festival was a grand week, and it was great to be up there for it. A massive well done and show of appreciation is in order to the whole team there but in particular Michael Moloney, Sinead Cassidy and the ground staff who produced fantastic racing surfaces every day under the guidance of Clerk of the Course, Lorcan Wyer. It’s not easy to get a track ready for seven consecutive days racing and while the weather was kind to us it’s still a 24-hour job, so well done to them on a magnificent job. There were no complaints from any of the racegoers that were allowed to be there, and everybody clearly had a great time. On the back of a great week like that with buzz and atmosphere I think everybody’s even more excited now for crowds to be allowed back.
It was a fantastic achievement for team Mullins to be the first trainer in 41 years to complete the Galway Plate and Galway Hurdle double. You can be sure that it won’t take that long to accomplish the feat again and no one would be surprised to see Willie do it again in the next few years. Not only did he manage the double, but he racked up 10 winners over the week and you can see he clearly targets the week with the prize-money on offer. Mention must also go to Ado McGuiness and the Dooley family for winning the Mile Handicap on the Tuesday and the Ahonoora Handicap on the Tuesday, it was the second year in a row they’d done the double. It was great to see the Dooley family coming over for the festival and bringing their colour and banter with them, everyone present and involved in Irish racing was delighted for them.
It was great to see Mother Earth get back in the winner’s enclosure in the Prix Rothschild at Deauville. She’s a genuine Group 1 performer and it was great to see Aidan [O’Brien] over there and on the track for the win. It brought up Ballydoyle’s 13th Group 1 success of the year and I don’t need to tell you just how good the team are. Along with the likes of Alcohol Free, Snowfall, and Wonderful Tonight we’re not short of talent amongst the filles and mares.
It’s been a long wait, but Tarnawa returns to action at Leopardstown and I for one cannot wait to see her back after her success in the Breeders’ Cup. Dermot Weld said all along that he would play it slow and wouldn’t rush her back and he hasn’t. For me, she’s the forgotten horse in the picture surrounding the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and she will be a major player come October. The likes of Snowfall and Wonderful Tonight just might be playing catch up when it comes to meeting Tarnawa in any of the mares’ races. Let’s hope she can fulfil the promise she displayed last year.