PAT HEALY: Brand Ambassador Pat Healy gives his view on Brazos’ controversial win at Navan before turning his attention to the upcoming Dublin Racing Festival, one he is really looking forward to.
Much has been written and much has been discussed about the stewards’ decision following the controversial race at Navan over the weekend where Brazos was allowed to keep the Graigs Lane Maiden Hurdle over Folcano. Gordon Elliott (trainer of Folcano) even came out stating that the decision was ‘barbaric’. In this day and age is there any need to have stewards’ enquiries held on a racetrack with people who are effectively volunteering their time? Is it time to have a professional stewards’ panel who can be based anywhere in the country say in the offices of IHRB or HRI and instead of being at the track, they are watching the coverage from an off-site location?
There are so many camera angles now, that it doesn’t matter where they are physically based and I think it should be like America where jockeys don’t have to go in on the enquiry. In the States, jockeys are handed a phone to the stewards where they let them know if they have anything substantial to say and it’s taken into account. They don’t have any contact with the stewards’ room, they talk on the phone straight away after weighing in. Irish racing needs to move with the times and this is a move that makes sense for all. Gordon was the benefactor early on in the season last October when his horse, The Bosses Oscar, kept a race at Thurles after an enquiry and some people thought he should have lost it so he knows both sides of the coin.
I’m not a fan of when we see the footage of jockeys in stewards enquires. If you speak well and act the part well, you come out of it well. Any jockey will tell you that. If you want things to change, a professional stewards’ panel is the way forward. If you want drama and disagreements, you keep it the way it is.
A professional panel will be able to base themselves in one place thanks to the high standard of camera work and jockeys shouldn’t be needed in an enquiry. In my opinion, they shouldn’t be allowed in an enquiry. The panel will be accepted by everyone in the industry and their decision will be final. You can make up a professional stewards panel with an ex-trainer, an ex-jockey and one of the stewards’ secretaries that have been on the circuit for a couple of years.
I think by now we’ve all seen Kevin Brouder’s heroic horsemanship at Naas. My brother Liam was at the track and got some absolutely fantastic images of Kevin, the mistake and the recovery which went worldwide. We’ve had messages from America and Australia with people struggling to believe that Kevin came back down from the sky and kept the partnership intact. To be honest, I’m still pretty amazed at how he did and the fact he managed to finish fourth is also remarkable in itself! Kevin deserves all the plaudits he’s getting for what he managed to do and it just shows that jockeys are amazing athletes.
Dublin Racing Festival
I’m really looking forward to this weekend. The Dublin Festival is now into its third year and it has already established itself as the biggest two days of National Hunt racing in Ireland. Both Gordon and Willie Mullins will be firing most of their big guns at the festival which is something to look forward to and it really promises to be an exceptional two days racing. It’s a shame we won’t have crowds there this year, but hopefully that’s just a one off and I’d highly recommend overseas fans to get over to Leopardstown next year as it’s a meeting not to be missed.
There are so many top-class horses on display, but I’m particularly excited to see Chacun Pour Soi in the Dublin Chase. Min will be a worthy advisory, but if Chacun wants to be winning the Champion Chase at Cheltenham, then he needs to be winning this. The Goffs Future Stars bumper also looks high class with BETDAQ ambassador Gavin Cromwell’s Letsbeclearaboutit a definite contender. I spoke to Gavin about him as well as some of his other Leopardstown contenders and you can view those videos on BETDAQ’s social media channels in the build-up.