PAT HEALY: This week Pat commends Gordon Elliott for his remarkable success at Navan at the weekend but criticises the lack of coverage surrounding it.
Gordon Elliott’s seven-timer
Congratulations to Gordon and his team, it was an amazing, almost unthinkable, achievement at Navan last weekend. We all know how hard it is to achieve something like that and for Gordon to go and do it and then also land the two opening races at Punchestown and Cork, meaning he won nine Irish races in a row, is just an unbelievable feat. Will we ever see this matched, over either flat or jumps? I’m not sure. We send our warmest congratulations and respect to the Cullentra House Stables team.
I was in a sense disappointed though it has to be said, due to the lack of media recognition. Of course, the Racing Post did the story proud with a front-page picture of Gordon the following day, but Ireland’s biggest selling newspaper on a Sunday – the Sunday Independent – didn’t even report on it, never mind carry a picture from it. Ireland’s biggest radio channel, RTE Radio 1, they didn’t acknowledge it either, and I just thought this deserved a mention on the national airwaves. Does racing think it’s bigger than it is, and are we living in a bubble about that? I just can’t figure it out, it’s an achievement that is worthy of The Late Late Show, they should be ringing Gordon inviting him on the show to talk about his exploits at Navan. As I said, it has me flummoxed and disappointed, it’s an achievement we won’t see equaled for a long time if at all, and it deserves to be heard. Rant over.
The John Durkan in particular was a terrific spectacle last weekend, although it probably threw up more questions than answers. Was Allaho at his best? Would Asterion Forlonge have won had he not fallen? Is Envoi Allen as good as we all thought he was? It will be interesting to watch all the contenders moving forward, especially Envoi Allen as it’s now going to be a test for Henry de Bromhead as a trainer.
I’d like to pay my respects to two great racing personalities that passed away during the week. Shay Rooney of the well-known Ardee town-based bookmaking family. Everybody in racing knows Shay, from the Dingle races to the York Ebor meeting, he was a personality that you wanted to meet out. Great craic, never on bad form, always smiling and always the last to bed. He will be sadly missed, and we pay our respects to the Rooney family on his passing.
Well known racecourse personality and owner Jerry Nolan from Cork City, he was a butcher by trade and owned Benkei with trainer Harry Rogers. A shrewd punter who was a truly lovely man and will be missed greatly.