Pat Keane - Columnist - IRISH EXAMINER

PAT KEANE: Hoping for the best, but fearing the worst for the jump season

In the so-called good old days, Listowel was always regarded as the real start of the National Hunt season.

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PAT KEANE: Three horses to note in the paying for Christmas list

When high-class fillies hit a rich vein of form they can be irresistible and there are three we must have on our side over the closing weeks of the season.

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PAT KEANE: Almela a good example of Dermot Weld’s patient handling policy

Monday night at Galway was a real indicator as to why the Dermot Weld-Pat Smullen combination continues to be so successful.

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PAT KEANE: David Wachman departure evokes memories of David O’Brien

David Wachman’s announcement this week that he is to retire from training at the end of the season, after some 20 years, encouraged one to reflect on various aspects of this great game.

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PAT KEANE: Churchill developing into a bit of a puzzle

Isn’t Aidan O’Brien’s clearly well regarded Churchill developing into a bit of a puzzle?

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PAT KEANE: Richard Hannon does Irish racing a favour by opening up entry system debate

That was a rather interesting little spat between trainer, Richard Hannon, and Horse Racing Ireland chief Executive, Brian Kavanagh, regarding the recent Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.

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PAT KEANE: Prix Morny unlikely to be on Caravaggio’s agenda

“I have to be careful what I say now, don’t I?’’, are the words Aidan O’Brien reportedly muttered in the wake of his Caravaggio enjoying no more than a leisurely stroll on the way to winning the Group 1 Phoenix stakes at the Curragh last Sunday.

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PAT KEANE: I’m on the side of the Naas stewards on this one!

At Naas on Monday, following a six-furlongs handicap, the stewards were called into action after the 11-4 favourite, Captain Power, had beaten 5-1 shot, Dark Alliance, by a short head.

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PAT KEANE: Ryan Moore and Ruby Walsh show what makes them great

The most important consideration for any punter trying to find a winner is to first establish if the horse of choice is actually capable of delivering.

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PAT KEANE: Seamie Heffernan has more than stood the test of time

Last Saturday at the Curragh, Seamie Heffernan did what he does best, producing a typical no-frills drive to land his first Irish Oaks aboard Seventh Heaven.

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PAT KEANE: Eziyra a real eye-catcher but Galway will be stiffer task

At Tipperary last Saturday, Dermot Weld’s newcomer, Eziyra, caught the eye of just about everyone watching.

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PAT KEANE: Give The Gurkha the benefit of the doubt until more is known

The Gurkha has certainly attracted his fair share of critics, following a costly defeat in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown last Saturday.

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PAT KEANE: Don’t get too carried away with Harzand - he still has plenty to prove

It mightn’t be wise to get too carried away with dual Derby winner, Harzand.

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