PAT HEALY: Pat is running out of superlatives for Rachael Blackmore after her Gold Cup win on A Plus Tard. The perfect ambassador for the sport both on and off the racecourse ….
It’s been said countless times, never mind being a fantastic jockey, she’s a fantastic ambassador for the sport. She’s so modest and polite, she just has a fantastic way about her. As I’ve said before, you would just love your daughter to grow up and be like her; to have her manners and to interact with people the way she does. Nothing is ever a problem for her, whether it’s a request for a WhatsApp or a get-well message for anybody that is sick. Recently, I sent her a request to say hello to some kids in a school here in Kerry, and of course it wasn’t a problem for her, she always puts time and effort into her messages to make the contact with people personal. Everybody loves her, her success is well deserved, and everyone is delighted for her. Please God that she stays healthy and safe, and we will be looking forward to Honeysuckle trying to record a three-timer in the Champion Hurdle next year, not forgetting A Plus Tard going back to defend his crown. But again, like I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’ve never seen so many women and girls riding at Point-to-Points, and to have young girls coming to the track to watch, so the impact that Rachael is having in the industry is massive.
We have to say a massive congratulations to Willie Mullins and his team. It is hard to believe that if it wasn’t for the width of a nose and a last fence fall, Willie would have had 12 winners at the Cheltenham Festival. Yet again he has raised the bar and obviously he has a fantastic team around him, from Ben Delmar who drives the horsebox to the races to David Casey and Dick Dowling, and then obviously everyone knows the impact Patrick [Mullins] and Ruby Walsh have. However, it is important not to underestimate that behind every great man there is an even greater woman; Jackie Mullins has to take huge credit for the success of Closutton from the start.
The weather for the last two days was absolutely out of this world compared to the Wednesday. It was a fantastic and memorable festival. Like every year, we are just looking forward to going back next year again and hopefully we will have just as much Irish success.
The flat kicks off this weekend in Ireland, where we have Curragh on Saturday and Naas on Sunday. It is going to be an interesting year, as always, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the two-year-olds progress into their three-year-old careers. On this side of the water, we have Luxembourg and Tenebrism to look forward to. Across the pond I’m looking froward to seeing the Godolphin horses, especially Native Trail, to watch their careers progress and of course we wish them all the best for the season ahead.