PAT HEALY: This week Pat on the topical debates in racing including low sun delays, impressive novice chasers and some pointers from Dromahane Point-to-Point.


Low sun

It’s a matter of health and safety at the end of the day, and who are we – people standing on the ground – to give out about jockeys that put themselves in danger on top of horse that cannot properly see an obstacle if there is low sun. It’s the times we live in now. It didn’t happen 30 years ago, but they were different times. If the jockeys decide that an obstacle is dangerous because of low sun, who are we to say they should be made to jump over it?

Jockeys are the bravest sportsmen that there are, anywhere in the world, and if they think an obstacle has to be taken out, then so be it. It’s not ideal, but that it where we are in these times.

I read somewhere on Monday that they should get horses goggles to shield their eyes from the sun. That to me is just laughable!

The process of deciding whether to take hurdles out could be speeded up though. I think there was a six-minute delay at Cheltenham on Sunday and after that they made the jockeys ride around a chicane to avoid the hurdle. In my mind the hurdles could have been pulled up – you could pull up the hurdles in 90 seconds. That could be made right.

I’m sure the whole process at Cheltenham will be sped up next time. The communication between the jockeys and the people on course needs to be quicker, so that there isn’t a delay. These are experiences to learn from.


Impressive novice chasers

Banbridge was very impressive at Cheltenham and looks an exciting chaser going forward. He was very slick and classy over his fences. I’m sure that under the care of Joseph O’Brien he’s definitely a horse to look forward to.

The same must be said about Jonbon on Wednesday. We know he’s a classy animal and what he did at Warwick was probably what we expected.

They are two novice chasers to really look forward to in the coming months.


Morgiana Hurdle

It will be interesting to see what Willie [Mullins] does with all six of his entries. The one I’m looking forward to seeing if he does run is Vauban. He’s stepping up into open company this season. History tells us it’s not an easy thing to do, but there are juveniles that step up into open company and impress us, and hopefully Vauban can do that.


Dromahane and a flourishing point-to-point scene

I was at Dromahane Point-to-Point on Sunday and I saw a couple of nice prospects for the notebook. Two of the three horses actually fell at the final fence. They were going to win very easily but just came down at the last, probably out of tiredness in the ground more than anything.

Theatre Native, trained by Donnchadh Doyle, looked to be an impressive mare. She was going to win by 30 lengths, with her head in her chest. She’s a name to keep an eye on.

In the following race, Derek O’Connor rode Mirazur West, for Ellmarie Holden of Jonbon fame. He’s a full brother to Ferny Hollow, and we all know how good he is. He was going to be awfully impressive, but for tipping up at the last, and is another to keep an eye on.

Both sets of connections are sellers, so those horses will end up at one of the upcoming sales next month. It’ll be interesting to see what they make and where they end up.

The point-to-point scene is in a healthy state when it comes to selling horses, as we saw last week at the Tattersalls’ Sales, where Denis Hogan’s Walk In The Park four-year-old, Mahon’s Way, was sold for £360,000.

There’s a huge market for promising four-year-olds. That’s what the point-to-point game in Ireland now is based upon and there’s a huge appetite for younger horses with potential.


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