PAT HEALY: In this week’s column Pat reflects on the Irish Derby and discusses Frankie Dettori losing his rides for John Gosden.
Westover was seriously impressive in the Irish Derby, and it was Juddmonte’s first win in the race since Commander In Chief in 1993. Although unfortunate to not have an Irish-trained winner, there was at least some connection as Ralph Beckett spent two and a half years here as assistant trainer to Arthur Moore back in the 1990’s. It was, of course, Colin Keane’s first Irish Derby win as well and we spoke about it last week, but he is now firmly on the national stage being a three-time Irish champion jockey. He truly deserves the plaudits, I always say that the Irish jockey colony is the best in the world, and if you can become Irish champion, you’ve already proven you’re world class and that’s what Colin is.
He made sure Rob Hornby wasn’t forgotten about, and he mentioned that he rang Rob on the morning of the race and how he talked him through the ins and outs of the horse. I’m not surprised at that, it’s what jockeys do, they are a unique breed of sportsman. When they are on horseback on the racetrack there’s not an inch asked for and not an inch given but outside of that they do what they can to help each other.
When you think things are going along nicely at any time and you’ve got this game cracked next thing life just gives you something unexpected, that’s why it’s hard and losing Scope in the Ralph Beckett yard will be a very hard time.
We are on the outside looking in and who really knows what’s happened, there’s no fear for Frankie Dettori. I’m not saying Frankie Dettori is bigger than horse racing, but he has the power to put racing on the front page. I’m not sure anyone else in racing can do that. I’m sure he’ll be alright, he’ll have to evaluate, get his ducks in a row and see what the options are. I’m sure he’ll be okay and when the big meetings come around, there will be load of stables looking for him to ride.
I must mention Billy Lee, he’s really going at it with Colin Keane at the top of the Irish jockey table and Billy had a great Irish Derby weekend. It’s going to be great for us here at home watching the battle in the coming months. Billy is a top-class rider, and he is on the crest of a wave at the minute, it will be interesting to see how he gets on trying to catch Colin.