PAT HEALY: Fairyhouse Showed The Highs And Lows Of Jump Racing

PAT HEALY: Shishkin Is Something Special

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PAT HEALY: This week Pat looks back on a memorable clash witnessed at Ascot last weekend and reflects on Tiger Roll’s return.

Battle for the ages

Well, Shishkin v Energumene, where do I start? It was brilliant for National Hunt racing and the sport as a whole, but I just couldn’t believe that Energumene got beat. Even halfway between the last fence and the winning line I thought he had it, and the next thing you know Nico [de Boinville] pressed the turbo charge button and boy did Shishkin take off and in the end won snugly. It was just brilliant to see and fantastic that we have two prolific horses in that division. Hopefully they will meet again at the big festivals that are coming up, so fingers crossed they both stay healthy and in one piece because it’s great for the National Hunt game moving forward.

Tiger Roll/Allaho

The Tiger made his long-awaited return on Irish soil last weekend and while he may have only finished 14th of 17 runners, you would have to think he’ll be a different horse in March at the Cheltenham Festival in the Cross Country. It’s going to be fascinating to watch his progress and I think it’s on record that if he did happen to win there, then he’d be retired on the spot and wouldn’t that be something to look forward to. You’d have to think he has a chance in bowing out at the top as he is a horse that truly comes alive at Prestbury Park. 

We also saw Allaho at the weekend and in my mind he is up there with Shishkin. He is a monster of a horse and has an unbelievable presence. What he did in the Ryanair Chase last year took my breath away, and I think he’s an even better horse in the spring. He was workmanlike at Punchestown in the John Durkan, but he was better on Sunday, and I can’t wait to see him at Cheltenham.

Gowran Park 

Thyestes Day at Gowran Park is one of the last few traditional days out in the National Hunt calendar and it’s a day that you see faces that you won’t see again until Kerry National day at Listowel in September. Now, with no restrictions in place and everything back to normal, there should be a massive crowd at the County Kilkenny track, and we wish Eddie Scally and the team the best of luck on their flagship day of the year.

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