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PAT HEALY: This week Pat shares his disappointment at how the Cheltenham stewards dealt with Rachael Blackmore’s incident on Gin On Lime


Rachael Blackmore

We saw a fascinating piece of horsemanship last week when Rachael was riding Gin On Lime to victory at Cheltenham, obviously in those scenarios you need luck which Harry [Skelton] didn’t have but she played the cards she was dealt and popped the last to pick up the prize money. The one thing that disappointed me about the whole episode was that I saw the stewards report like everybody else when the BHA posted it online and they addressed her as Blackmore. Throughout the report they referred to her as Blackmore and I think in this day and age it’s just wrong. For a person that has brought racing to new heights, and that puts racing onto the front and back pages like nobody else has done in the history of the sport, to be treated like that is the height of disrespect and it made my blood boil.

I just thought it was plain wrong, why she couldn’t be called Rachael Blackmore or Miss Blackmore? I don’t know what they were thinking, I never saw them refer to AP as just McCoy, it was always AP McCoy or Mr McCoy. I thought the whole situation should have been embraced by racing, the BHA should have been on the phone to the BBC and CNN saying, ‘you’ve got to see what’s just happened and let the wider public see it!’. It was a brilliant advert for the game, and it should have been embraced, what Rachael did is why every young person wants to get into the game, and for her to be reprimanded really didn’t sit right with me.


Punchestown 

Our friend Gavin [Cromwell] must have been delighted with Vanillier’s performance at Punchestown, in what was a cracking two days of racing, he put up a very smart performance along with others like Sharjah. Willie’s [Mullins] hurdler is now an eight-year-old and just keeps on at the top of his game, he’s entitled to be considered a Champion Hurdle contender and I think should be trained as one. It was also nice to see Mouse Morris’s French Dynamite in action and he’ll be one to look forward to seeing again.

But the one that really topped it all off was the bumper horse, The Big Doyen. I was a furlong down the track watching the race with Gordon [Elliott] who had two runners in the race and before the race he was telling me he was most afraid of Peter Fahey’s horse. The two of us watched the race and afterwards Gordon turned to me and said that’s probably our marker now for bumper horses this winter. It will be interesting to see now if The Big Doyen changes hotels as he’s owned by a syndicate and could easily be picked up by one of the big owners.


Navan racecourse

Congratulations to Navan racecourse, it’s their centenary celebrations this Sunday and I have to say it’s a magnificent racetrack, you only have to look at the roll of honour with some superstar horses gracing the turf there over the years, it’s a who’s who of Jumps racing. Navan are very lucky to have two great men on the ground in Vincent Eivers and Donal Curtis, they do a fantastic job on the track, and I think Flat racing trainers are looking at the track more in recent years which is a testament to both, and the whole ground staff team. We wish them all the best for the next 100 years.