TIME passes quickly and for many readers it may be difficult to imagine what all the fuss was. If you google Paddy the Plasterer you discover a story about Tribunals of Inquiry, a defensive Taoiseach, political supporters putting their money where their mouth is and the revelation that one of those supporters had a nickname.

In a south Dublin watering hole, The Goat, the story was greeted with amusement and led to the naming of the equally celebrated Forpadydeplasterer. Bred by John Broderick in 2002 and trained by Thomas Cooper in Tralee, FPDP was to enjoy a 35-race career, a 2009 Arkle Chase at Cheltenham victory and an appearance in a Grand National. His rating peaked at 167 although he was to wait over three years to supplement that victory, his fifth career win, with another one. Ten second-placings and ten other placings showed a consistent performer. He never fell.

He had been brought to the Coopers’ attention by Mikey O’Connor after he won a schooling race at Limerick for Mick Winters and the syndicate was prepared to back the recommendation. “You couldn’t paint him so gorgeous,” says Bryan Cooper, who says he was lucky enough to ride him as he was learning his craft. “Very laid back, quiet, tall and an economical jumper like many two-mile-chasers.”

Sunderland scarves

The trajectory of a racing career can have many shapes. Forpadydeplasterer’s was of an obvious rise to a height many would consider incomparable. After winning the Arkle it is inevitable to have thoughts of Champion two-mile chases and many more days punching the air. In Pady’s case he revisited Cheltenham and many other major festivals but his performance gradually declined and his rating followed that drift. Career earnings of £471,862 are beyond the wildest dreams of most owners and the unforgettable day in the Cotswolds, with more Sunderland scarves than you might see at the Stadium of Light, these memories are priceless.

His last appearance in October 2013 as an eleven-year-old was a pale reflection of past glories. The phrase “niggled along at halfway” hinted that a chapter was closing. From Pady’s perspective, maybe the best chapter was to come. Joanne Quirke acquired FPDP just as the scene for Racehorse-to-Riding horse classes was maturing nicely in Ireland.

“Tom Cooper asked me if I’d be interested in taking him,” explains Joanne. “I said yes, but then Tom needed to know every detail of what I had in mind for him. He didn’t want to part with him unless he was sure that Pady would be well looked after. He has stayed in touch throughout his second career. In fact, we had a busload from The Goat down to the yard to see him a few years ago.”

“Pady is such a gent” Joanne says. Winner of three RDS R-To-R classes, an unmatched achievement, Pady has also won at Balmoral and relived past glories across the water by competing at Aintree in the RoR class which he also won. He has also competed and won in side-saddle shows and the red-and-white scarves were out in force when he paraded side-saddle at Punchestown and Leopardstown.

“Yes, he is a bit of a celebrity, which has been seen as an advantage in the retraining area, but he is an eye-catcher, a brilliant mover, has the perfect temperament for the job and is a joy to ride. He would have been excellent whether or not he ever won a race on the track”.

Forpadydeplasterer began his famous journey as an irreverent poke at the political world but it seems Pady has the last laugh. He is now 22 and retired from competition, but still the star of Joanne’s yard in Co Meath. While some new projects are coming along nicely, including Snow Falcon who Joanne has for Emma Connolly, Pady seems unperturbed as he knows his routine and has seen it all before. The song says: “Nobody does it fasterer” but maybe Pady is now taking it a bit easier.

Stop Press!

HRI Equine Welfare Symposium

Changing Stride: The way ahead for horseracing safety and care

An all-day event in Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge, and afterwards at the Curragh Racecourse

May 24th 2024 at 8.30am

Limited capacity, tickets go on sale on April 6th

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