PAT HEALY: This week Pat heaps praise on a whole host of winning jockeys from last weekend and pays tribute to James Collins.


Sam Ewing

Sam had a fantastic weekend. He went to Chepstow and rode Peregrine Run to win over fences and then he went down to Ffos Las on the Sunday where he rode Effernock Fizz to win the Welsh Champion Hurdle for up-and-coming trainer Cian Collins. That was on top of a busy week, he rode at Downpatrick on Friday, then went on to Dundalk on Friday evening and rode a winner on the flat before, as I mentioned, riding two big winners in Wales at the weekend.

At the moment he’s a dual-purpose jockey – he reminds me of Mark Dwyer, who rode a Gold Cup winner back in the day on Forgive ‘N Forget. Sam will obviously end up over jumps, but with his flat riding experience it probably makes him a sharper rider over jumps.

He rides out at Gordon Elliott’s and of course his dad is a well-known point-to-point producer Warren Ewing. He’s a young man to watch out for over the winter.


Meryem Walsh

I’d like to say a big well done to Meryem Walsh who rode her first winner at the Curragh last Saturday on Final Endeavor for Harry Rogers.

It was an emotional day because Harry lost his wife Mary in the last year and this was fantastic for everyone connected to the yard. It was a real feel-good moment. Meryem’s a big cog in the Harry Rogers’ training operation and we wish her continued success going forward.

Remembering James Collins

James was a fantastic friend of mine and sadly passed away last week. He’d be well known in racing circles. He was attached to the Dessie Hughes stable in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and rode about 80 winners over jumps before he retired. He went on to be involved in property development and buying and selling property. He was a fantastic character and personality, which was borne out by the size of his funeral last week in Killarney town, where he was living. We wish to pay our respects to his wife Fiona and his two girls Molly and Grace. May he rest in peace.


Cesarewitch winner

We should say well done to Charles Byrnes and his owners after Run For Oscar’s success at Newmarket last weekend. They had to go to Haydock to get him high enough handicapped to get him into the race, as I imagine he was balloted out of the amateur handicap at the Galway Festival. Charles has proved that there’s no better man to target a race down the years.

To top a great week for the Byrnes family, his son Philip, who claims seven, rode a double at Punchestown on Tuesday. We’ll have to keep an eye on Philip and Charles if they team up in the coming weeks.

Zac Purton seven-timer

To ride seven winners on a ten-race card is unbelievable. Five times he’s ridden six winners on a card in Hong Kong, but this was his first seven-timer. It’s not an easy place to ride a double or a treble, let alone to ride six winners, never mind seven! I know the ‘Magic Man’ Joao Moreira holds the record with eight winners in a single day, but we have to give Zac Purton a round of applause for his achievement.


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