EVERYONE connected with a winner at Cheltenham this week deserves special mention, but there is just no getting away from the achievements of Willie Mullins – quite astounding – and the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup double-double for fellow trainer Henry de Bromhead.

For the greater good of racing, and its positive promotion outside of our own industry bubble, the success of Rachael Blackmore is invaluable, and there is quite simply no better ambassador for all that is good about our sport. Today, she not only graces our front cover, but she will undoubtedly take up space on most national newspapers in Ireland and Britain.

During the week I heard such as Zoe Ball on BBC Radio 2 speak of her and Honeysuckle’s amazing performance in the Champion Hurdle. Their win will surely have silenced anyone wavering about the brilliance of the equine and of the lady who has been in the saddle on every one of the mare’s 15 racecourse triumphs. Eleven of these have been at Grade 1 level.

While the margin of victory in the Prestbury Cup was not as dominant as 12 months earlier, Irish-trained winners still gained a comprehensive win, helped enormously by a whitewash of all the races yesterday.

On the breeding front, French-breds posed a greater challenge to Ireland’s usual dominance in this sphere, and the most notable turnaround was in the Grade 1 races.

Irish-breds just nudged the French out, six against five, but this time last year we had nine to their pair of victories. British-breds won three Grade 1s on the opening day but failed to build on this.

The appetite for racing was palpable on track, with record crowds, though this posed a number of issues, especially when it came to being able to move about in comfort, and a cap on attendances could be a solution.

What is clear is that a fifth day is not needed for now.

Special request

It has been a magic week for racing, and for that we are most grateful.

However, events elsewhere in the world are heart-breaking, and the Irish racing and breeding sectors have reason to feel for the suffering of many of their Ukrainian workers and their families.

Please turn to page 75 and read about the efforts of Downpatrick Racecourse and Richard Lyttle to raise much needed funds to support the humanitarian efforts. You can go online and bid for a number of great items that will be sold on Sunday after racing at the track and online. The items will suit all tastes and pockets, and every euro counts. Full details are also on social media sites.