PAT HEALY: This week Pat reflects on the biggest headlines from Royal Ascot and picks out a talented jockey for you to keep an eye out for.
I, like many, really enjoyed the action at Royal Ascot last week and I was particularly made up for the Champion Jockey, Oisin Murphy. Oisin is a Kerry man and we’re all really proud of what he achieved last week with five winners. It show the strength of the man to bounce back after Dragon Symbol lost the Commonwealth Cup in the stewards’ room and to then come out and ride a winner of the Coronation Stakes straight after. His last winner on Foxes Tales just showed that when things are going your way, they are really going your way. You could have driven three London buses up the inside in the penultimate race on Saturday and it almost seemed as if fate created the scenario.
Kevin Manning/Poetic Flare
You sometimes have to pinch yourself to realise Kevin Manning is 54. His ride on Poetic Flare confirmed there are absolutely no signs of him slowing down and he’s as fit and hungry as ever. He’s part of a really incredible story with Poetic Flare, who is fast becoming a proper legend. To win the Newmarket Guineas, run pretty well in the French version, be chinned in the Irish Guineas and then to come out and bolt up in the St James’s Palace at Royal Ascot must make him a proper warrior. He’s clearly thriving with racing and if he was owned by someone like Coolmore or Godolphin then I’m not sure we would have heard the end of how impressive he was. It will be fascinating to see where they send me him now, but I did see the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood being mentioned. That might mean a match with Palace Pier and you don’t need me to tell you how exciting that might be!
As mentioned, the stewards were called to sort out the result of the Commonwealth Cup and although I think the right verdict was reached, I still am a firm believer that jockeys shouldn’t be allowed in the stewards’ room. That’s the way it’s done in America and I don’t see why we can’t follow suit. A representative of the stewards should talk to the jockeys once they get off the horses to get their account on what happened. They don’t need to go in after the race – I don’t like it and think it needs to be changed. At the end of the day, though, Oisin’s horse drifted off a straight line and so the correct decision was made based on the rules, but in my opinion, the process of making that decision needs looking at.
Keep an eye out for young jockey Paddy Harnett. He looks a real talent based on his ride on Igraine at Leopardstown last Thursday. The horse clearly wasn’t straightforward, but he did a really good job of keeping its mind on the job. He followed that up with a winner at Limerick on Friday and is another young pilot worth keeping tabs on.