IT was heartening to be in Dermot McLoughlin’s yard this week with Freewhelin Dylan and his owner Sheila Mangan and jockey Ricky Doyle for the release ofthe BoyleSports Irish Grand National weights.
The trio put a huge amount of the feel-good factor into the bleakness of last spring when they came home in front at Fairyhouse and it’s hard now to remember they had to wait many months to even have a party to celebrate the 150/1 success.
While the ‘big boys’ have taken their share, the Irish Grand National still offers a good prospect of the big prize being scooped by some of the smaller yards.The top 20 in the weights feature a lot of quality horses. Hopefully a few British runners will be enticed by the prize money to make it an intriguing betting heat.
Freewheelin Dylan proved a most willing ‘photo star’ – even having Easter Eggs juggled in from of him. He may head to Aintree, softer ground permitting, to follow in the footsteps of many other Fairyhouse heroes to repeat there.
IT was a touch amusing last week to see ITV Racing take some flak over their coverage of Cheltenham.
The channel often seems to bend over backwards to reassure us all is perfect in the racing world. Viewers are frequently told that fallen horses are fine and how well looked after they area.
But it was their foray into the betting ring on Thursday which backfired. An Irish racegoer provided plenty of colour when playing up to the cameras and having his final €640 on Flooring Porter.
It should have been a great story but the broadcaster not only had to apologise for the punter’s bad language, they also took criticism for glorifying irresponible gambling!
You would hope that the cash was all that was left of the hero’s betting bank - same as anyone might do on a long day’s shopping! At least when they showed him collecting his winnings, the gambler said he intended to spend it very slowly.
THERE seemed to be a male/female split in the post-Festival debate on whether Tiger Roll deserved to go out with a win rather than the scenario where he was beaten by his classier stable companion Delta Work.
Many missed the point. It wasn’t asking Jack Kennedy not to win but questioning why Delta Work needed to run. Some compared it to allowing Enable win her third Arc but this again missed the point. Juddmonte would not have run a main danger against her.
The example put forward by Dave Yates was that it would be like Ian Wright being allowed to score by the opposing goalkeeper on his final match. A better comparison would have been for him to be through on goal and then having to pass to another striker alongside him. That would have been wrong and upset the sport’s fans.