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PAT HEALY: Pat is in great spirits this week as he looks ahead to his home festival in Listowel and also discusses the jockey situation surrounding Tarnawa


Listowel Harvest Festival

The weather has been very kind to us with warm temperatures, sunshine, and any rain that we’ve had has come at the perfect time! We haven’t had to water the track yet and our clerk of the course Val O’Connell is very happy with the little rain that has come overnight which leaves us in good stead for the last couple of days. From my point of view as chairman, with 2,000 racegoers coming through the door every day, it’s going very well. Everybody has been enjoying themselves and complimentary about the setup, everybody’s been able to get a bite to eat and drink, there’s tables and chairs dotted all over and three marquees, so it’s important to receive this positive feedback. When you have people coming into your stadium, it’s important that they leave happy, so it means the world to us. On the racing front there’s been some top-class horses on show and the big names have been making their presence felt with Willie [Mullins], Gordon [Elliott], and Jessie [Harrington] all taking regular trips to the winners’ enclosure.

Tarnawa/Keane/Soumillon

Colin [Keane] had the good luck to get on the filly at the Breeders’ Cup when Christophe [Soumillon] couldn’t make it for Covid reasons, which she then went on to win. But were we all wrong to assume that Colin would be a certainty for the ride in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe? Maybe this was just the first opportunity that he’s had to confirm that he’s available to ride the star filly. I would hate to think that Colin has been pushed aside because of the Irish Champions Stakes ride, and at the end of the day Colin – or Baby Mick as we call him – is a world class jockey. On the outside looking in, maybe Colin always knew that he’d have to make way for the race in Paris, but he’s a young man and he’ll take this in his stride. There’s no doubt there’ll be plenty more big ones available for Colin over the years, but I just can’t figure out whether it’s a surprise or something that was expected. Christophe is a world class rider who has proved himself time and time again, so it certainly adds another fascinating layer to the Arc story.

Rachael Blackmore

We’re thinking of Rachael this week as she won the Kerry National two-years-ago, and there’s no doubt she would have been picking up plenty of great rides this week, so all in Listowel are thinking of her. Hopefully her recovery is coming along nicely, and we’ll be seeing her back to her best in a couple of months.