PAT HEALY: This week Pat proposes the idea of practice hurdles after fallers at Roscommon, and looks ahead to Poetic Flare’s run at Deauville.

Practice hurdles

After a 3-year-old maiden hurdle at Roscommon last week saw six horses either fall or be brought down, is it time to consider adopting the French approach of using a practice hurdle on the way to the start? You’d have to think that it would have helped in that race at Roscommon, and maybe it was just a one-off event but for these three-year-old horses, jockeys might just like the option of giving their horse a pop before they start. Maybe it’s just something for the powers that be to consider.

Shane Foley

Huge congratulations to Shane Foley who again showed his class last weekend, winning the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes and completing a treble on the day. What makes that success even better is that it was only the night before that he was riding in Saratoga for Jessie [Harrington], the logistics of going home in time for the racing at the Curragh meant he took a flight on the Private Coolmore plane to Boston and then back to Dublin Sunday morning. A truly international experience for an international jockey.

Harvest Festival

The Listowel Harvest Festival gets underway next month and at the minute under HRI protocols they’re planning for 500 people, but I’m just hoping with Champions Weekend approaching that HRI will be granted permission for more racegoers to attend. We might be lucky to get 5,000 people in which case we could hope for similar numbers at the Harvest Festival.


She did exactly what many expected and what many weren’t expecting, she was full of beans before the race and she kept Colin Keane on his toes, particularly on the way to the start when another horse bumped into the rails and gave her a bit of a fright dropping Colin in the process. It was a polished performance and we’re looking forward to seeing her next up in the Irish Champion Stakes. Then it will be on to the l’Ard de Triomphe where the two Godolphin colts – Hurricane Lane and Adayar – and the two fillies – Snowfall and Wonderful Tonight – will set this up to be a cracker of a race.

Poetic Flare

Poetic Flare heads to Deauville on Sunday to contest the Group 1 Jacques Le Marois. The ground was probably a tad too soft at Goodwood and I’m looking forward to seeing him back on a sounder surface. This will be his seventh run of the year and he’s been impressive along the way, but John Gosden’s Palace Pier will not be an easy opponent to take down.