Horse Racing Ireland has taken plenty of stick over many years, but you have to praise the bridge as you cross it and there is no doubt their recent handling of Irish racing, in the face of this cursed coronavirus, has been nothing short of exemplary.
History was made on Friday afternoon at Prestbury Park as the Willie Mullins-trained, Paul Townend-ridden and Marie and Joe Donnelly-owned Al Boum Photo joined the illustrious band of back-to-back winners of the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Willie Mullins waited a long time to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup but, having finally got his hands on the prize he craved most last year, he was again the toast of Prestbury Park today after 100-30 favourite Al Boum Photo provided another picture-perfect moment.
After a sluggish start to the Festival, Willie Mullins’ team found stride late on Wednesday, upped the pace with a double on Thursday, and when Monkfish edged out compatriots Latest Exhibition and Fury Road in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, it was a third on the day and a sixth in total for the Closutton maestro.
The Willie Mullins-trained Burning Victory ran out a fortuitous winner of the JCB Triumph Hurdle, the opening race of the final day of the Cheltenham Festival, after 5-2 favourite Goshen dramatically unseated rider Jamie Moore when miles clear at the final flight.
Willie Mullins is excited about the prospect of Al Boum Photo defending his Cheltenham Gold Cup crown three weeks tomorrow, and feels his charge has a “fantastic chance” of successfully doing so. Whilst he acknowledges history is against Joe Donnelly’s gelding, he doesn’t believe this year’s opposition is any tougher than the field he readily took care of in 2019.
Willie Mullins has had many great days in racing but, as he debriefed the media in a packed winner’s enclosure, it was hard to escape the sense that few meant quite as much to Ireland’s champion trainer as Faugheen’s epic victory in the Flogas Novice Chase on day two of the Dublin Racing Festival.
A lawyer has said that 'companies must catch up with the law' after the Work Place Relations Commission (WRC) found that an RTÉ TV producer was discriminated against when she was forced to retire aged 65 and won €100,000 compensation.