PAT HEALY: This week Pat shares his views on suspending jockeys and looks ahead to the Breeders Cup.


Suspending jockeys

Billy Lee got suspended last Friday night in Dundalk for using the whip once more than he should have. What that means is that, unless he appeals and is successful, he is going to miss the last two days of the flat season. At the minute, Billy and Colin Keane are fighting out the jockeys’ championship and there’s great excitement – everybody is watching it – and it’s bringing the eyes of the public to places like Dundalk on Friday night and wherever they are riding. The public have latched onto it, the media are reporting it and it has added spice to the final few weeks of the flat season.

But then racing goes and shoots itself in the foot. What is the point in suspending Billy Lee? Okay, he may have made a mistake and broken the rules, but I think suspending jockeys is outdated.

What I’m saying is that it would be better to fine jockeys for breaking the rules and making mistakes. Fine him €5,000. Fine jockeys and let the money go to the Injured Jockeys Fund. With all the fines during the year for bad manoeuvres and whatever mistakes jockeys make, it would be a nice amount each year for the IJF. And I guarantee you that jockeys won’t be making the same mistakes if it’s going to cost them money.

I would do away with banning jockeys, other than in very extreme cases – cases like Christophe Soumillon’s and for extreme cases of the whip.

But now Billy is banned for a few days, it’s going to rob the public of a title decider. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth looking on, knowing that Billy isn’t going to be able to contest the last two days of the season and have a chance to win his first jockeys’ championship. I hope the powers that be see sense and his ban is overturned.


Adam Caffrey

Adam rode a winner last Saturday on Saltonstall for his boss, Ado McGuinness. He came from last to first, and I have to say, hats off, what a ride! If one of the top jockeys had given a horse a ride like that then we’d all be blowing their trumpet, so Adam deserves great praise. He only gave Saltonstall four taps with his whip too.

It was fantastic to see and isn’t the sort of ride that should go under the radar. A huge well done to Adam.


Group 1 for Gavin Ryan

Gavin had his first Group 1 success last Saturday, when he rode Proud And Regal to win the Criterium International in Saint-Cloud.

Well done to Donnacha [O’Brien] too of course. It was a memorable afternoon for the O’Brien family, with Aidan winning the Vertem Futurity at Doncaster with Auguste Rodin and his son training a Group 1 winner in France. It’s not the first time the O’Brien family have achieved the feat, but it certainly deserves a round of applause.


Sean Flanagan

Sean took a bad fall at Thurles on Thursday. He broke some vertebrae in his back and it looks like it’s going to be touch and go whether he can get back riding for the big festivals at Christmas. We wish him well in his recovery.


Looking forward to the Jumps

I was at Willie Mullins’ today for his press morning ahead of the jumps season. It’s always a treat to get the chance to be in the inner sanctum of great training operations. It was brilliant to see some of his superstars up-close, Allaho, Energumene, Galopin Des Champs, Facile Vega the list goes on and on. There’re all to look forward to this season.


Breeders’ Cup

The flat isn’t finished yet though and I’m looking forward to heading back to Keeneland for the Breeders’ Cup. I think there are going to be about 40 European runners over the two days, but one horse I’m most looking forward to seeing is the highest-rated horse in the world, Flightline. I’ve watched his all races and read so much about him.


DAQMAN Weds: Kempton NAP
DAQSTATS Weds: Kempton NAP
THE STRIKER Weds: MAN U v LEEDS
THE STRIKER Weds: Sunderland v Fulham (FA Cup)
THE EDGE Thurs: India v Australia 1st Test
PAT HEALY blog: The Perfect Festival!
THE WEEK AHEAD: Super Bowl week !!
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