PAT HEALY: This week Pat Healy reflects on a very successful weekend for Paul Nicholls and Daryl Jacob, whilst also naming a horse for you to keep an eye on in the coming days.
It was another spectacular Saturday for Paul Nicholls with seven winners, which is a fantastic achievement. It just goes to show you that while Paul’s name is on the racecard as the trainer, he has a great team behind him and the success he’s having wouldn’t be possible without them. The logistics of travelling to three different meetings on a Saturday as well as getting horses to and from their destination safely is a huge task, so he obviously has a superb team around him.
Normally Paul has a quiet January, but this Saturday proved that he might be doing things differently this year and that’s a very imposing thought for the rest. Also you have to give him huge credit for bringing on two fantastic jockeys in Harry Cobden and Bryony Frost. Since Ruby Walsh left Ditcheat, Paul hasn’t really had a stable jockey but in bringing along Harry and Bryony from young teenagers he now has two reliable, dedicated and gifted riders on the team. The fact that they are on site every morning must now be a huge asset to Paul as it’s the little things along the way that are picked up by these jockeys and relayed to the trainer that put the finishing touches to the animals.
In Ireland, we see the likes of Paul and Nicky [Henderson] as fantastic trainers who are at the very top of their craft. If they were to train over here, nothing would change, they would be achieving great results as well. It’s the same with Willie [Mullins] and Gordon [Elliott], if they were based over in England they’d have similar amounts of success because they are masters at what they do.
Daryl Jacob (pictured) had a five-timer at Wincanton and fair play to him because that’s another outstanding achievement. It’s a very hard thing to do for a jockey, never mind a Jump jockey. It’s one thing doing it on the Flat where it can happen more often, but it’s a special day when a Jump jockey does it. It takes a lot of doing and you need a fair amount to go right for you. The one thing that would have capped it off is if Daryl had gone and bought a lottery ticket on the way home. Everything he touched seemed to turn to gold on Saturday!
I thought it was a really nice gesture that he mentioned his old boss Robert Alner when reflecting on it afterwards. I’m someone that likes to think of people that have passed and just because they aren’t with us anymore doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about them now. I was delighted to hear Daryl mention Robert but I wasn’t surprised, Daryl is a lovely fella.
One horse to keep an eye on over the next few days is Master McShee. He was second to Appreciate It in a maiden hurdle at Cork back in November, before hacking up at the same venue in early December. He then came out and won a competitive handicap at Leopardstown over Christmas in very impressive style and looks a horse going places.
His trainer Paddy Corkery is a great character and he’s gone on record to say the horse isn’t for sale despite clearly having had plenty of interest in the horse. Nine out of 10 of us would sell the horse, but Paddy is keen to hold on to him as he believes he is the horse of a lifetime who could really take his career to new heights. Ex point-to-point jockey Jimmy Moloney is a huge cog in Paddy’s training wheel and Paddy gives Jimmy huge credit for his handling of the animal. It’s a great story and hopefully the horse can continue to improve because based on that Leopardstown performance, he’s a really smart horse.