PAT HEALY: This week Brand Ambassador Pat Healy waxes lyrical about Envoi Allen after his Punchestown win at the weekend, as well as congratulating young jockey Harry Swan on his first win.
It was obviously disappointing to see Asterion Forlonge fall at the first in his eagerly anticipated match-up with Envoi Allen at Punchestown on Sunday, but take nothing away from what Gordon Elliott’s horse did anyway. Given his lofty reputation, he’s always going to be the star of the show and everything he does is just very impressive. He’s such a gorgeous horse and seemingly like most of the racing world, I’ve fallen in love with him. He’s unbeaten and it’s very hard not to be a member of the fan club.
Gordon has said he’ll head straight to Cheltenham now and in all honesty it doesn’t appear as if we’ve seen or will see anything that can beat him. He seems to do just do everything in second gear and he’s an immensely exciting horse who hopefully we’ll get to see for many years to come.
There doesn’t seem to be the same buzz around him as there was around Samcro which you’d imagine is because of the current situation. We’re racing behind closed doors and so there isn’t quite the social media hysteria that we’re used to. It just shows that if certain horses do get to the level that Samcro did, they need to progress again to be called real superstars. While Samcro is a fantastic racehorse, Envoi Allen needs to do what he hasn’t quite done and take that step up in open company. That’s the jump that makes horses great.
It’s perhaps a bit disappointing that he hasn’t taken anything on yet over fences, but every trainer has to do right by their horse. They don’t want to give them a hard race which in all likelihood is going to end in defeat, especially as the real important day is in March. You want to have your horse at 100 per cent and there’s no point bottoming them out if it’s not needed.
Some people might say that because he’s not getting tested that he won’t be prepared for that come Cheltenham, but I don’t buy that theory. He showed in the Ballymore last year that he can battle and you just feel he’s got so much more under the bonnet. It’s going to take a very good one to beat him, that’s for sure.
Dreal looks the real Deal
Ronan McNally made no secret of the fact he thought Real Dreal (pictured below, on left) would win the Moscow Flyer and he duly did in impressive fashion. He’s now won six on the bounce and he hasn’t really come off the bridle in any of them, so he’s clearly a pretty smart animal. He’s got to be a Cheltenham contender and he’s a really fascinating runner. Judging from Ronan’s social media clips, he has fantastic facilities at home and Real Dreal is evidence of that.
He ran a horse called See Double You at Fairyhouse recently who is still going strong at 18 years of age and I remember Ronan winning point-to-points on him, so Ronan has been around the circuit for a long while now. It’s great to see him have horses like Real Dream and The Jam Man and long may his success continue.
Young Harry Swan, son of Charlie, got his first winner under rules at Naas last week and remarkably he followed both his father and grandfather (Tim Hyde) in riding a winner with their first ride over Jumps. We all know how successful Charlie was as a jockey and it’s great to see his son Harry start off in the manner he has.
Likewise Pat Taaffe, son of trainer Tom and grandson of Arkle jockey Pat, is also making a name for himself in the bumper game. Both are further evidence of how strong the young crop of jockeys is in Ireland which bodes very well for the future.