PAT HEALY: This week Pat counts down the days to the Listowel Harvest Festival before heaping praise on Ger Lyons and Colin Keane, who both achieved personal accolades recently.
It has been announced that we can expect to see 2,000 racegoers per day over the Listowel Harvest Festival. That number was arrived at for a couple of reasons, first, it will be classed as an outdoor event due to restricted indoor space under the government’s roadmap. Under the current protocols the weighing room, steward’s room, and press room will probably be spread around buildings that will be out of use to the public. It’s certainly a happy increase on the 500 people we were expecting, and we have a responsibility to Listowel and the North Kerry region to keep it safe, but you’d have to hope that most people would be accommodated for on at least one day of the week. Aside from that, we’re all looking forward to the Festival, the track looks in great order and we’ll be looking at the rain forecast with a close eye to see if we have to water.
Last Monday in Roscommon was a great day for Irish racing as Ger Lyons notched up his 1000th winner, Offiah, ridden by Colin Keane, an impressive milestone for Ger who trained his first winner in 1994. It’s a fantastic achievement by him and I don’t need to tell you how dedicated he is to the sport of training racehorses. He has a great team around him, and we don’t really see him around at the races anymore because Shane – his brother – drives the box and is the travelling head lad looking after logistics on track. Together they make a great team and are lucky to have one another.
It wasn’t just Ger Lyons bringing up the milestones as Colin Keane made it to 100 winners in a Flat Season and became the quickest jockey to do so. He brought up the impressive feat at Navan on Barretta who is also trained by his boss, Ger Lyons. Having reached his century so quickly he can now have one eye on Joseph O’Brien’s record of 126 winners and going into the start of September it looks more than achievable for what has always been a world class rider. There are some big international meetings on the horizon with Champions Weekend, Longchamp, and the Breeders’ Cup so hopefully there will be some trainers around the world looking for his services.