One law for the rich and another for the poor

In the press room at Tramore last Thursday week a group of us were watching a two-year-old maiden being run at Leopardstown.

One of the press corps had backed a horse of David Wachman’s called Chattel House and was literally jumping up and down on one leg, as he watched him get kid-glove treatment from Johnny Murtagh through the final furlong.

Murtagh’s performance didn’t look good, made all the worse by the fact that the contest was won by the heavily-backed Aidan O’Brien-trained Why, partnered by the trainer’s son, Joseph.

The stewards decided an inquiry was necessary and concluded that giving Murtagh a severe caution was sufficient.

They told him he had to be seen to make more effort in his future riding. Both the trainer and the horse escaped completely.

Murtagh said he was confident that he had obtained his best possible placing in the race and, do you know what, he was probably right.

But that is surely missing the whole point, at least when you consider what was meted out to the Ballyronan Boy and that horse’s connections at Tipperary back in May.

Ballyronan Boy, whose form before Tipperary told us he wasn’t worth two sausages, finished seventh of ten behind Jembatt.

The stewards, however, weren’t best pleased by the performance and the horse was suspended for 60 days.

The trainer, Michael Connell, was fined €1,500 and jockey, Ronan Whelan, suspended for seven days.

Ballyronan Boy duly completed his 60 days on the sidelines and returned to action at Wexford last month.

Once more going off at a big price - 25-1 - he finished 13th of 14 behind Midnight Soprano. Ballyronan Boy was beaten over 52 lengths. The stewards said nothing!

So, how do you square what happened at Tipperary with the relative inactivity of the Leopardstown stewards?

We really have to be forgiven for thinking there is one law for the rich and another for the poor. And it’s not good enough.


Listening to some of the pundits this week you’d imagine all Rewilding has to do is turn up at Doncaster on September 11 and the St Leger is as good as his.

I’m not so sure. Of course he was hugely impressive when slamming Midas Touch by four lengths in the Great Voltigeur at York on Tuesday.

I have a feeling, however, Midas Touch will give him more than his bellyful of it next month.

Midas Touch hadn’t run since the Irish Derby and, the way Aidan O’Brien trains his horses, I think we can be certain there will be lots of improvement to come.

I know Rewilding hadn’t run since finishing third to Worforce in the Epsom Derby, but was particularly strong in the market the other day, indicating he was more than ready to do himself justice.

Midas Touch will be 3lbs better in at Doncaster and the manner in which he stayed on at York offers hope he could well reverse placings, with an extra two and a half furlongs to travel.


Had to smile at a text in the Racing Rost on Wednesday. It said: “Congratulations Johnny (Murtagh), you’ve done it again. Well done, what a great ride that was on Rip Van Winkle.”

He was referring, of course, to Murtagh producing Rip Van Winkle with a last-gasp surge to grab Twice Over at the death in the Juddmonte at York the previous day.

Most punters talk through their pockets and our texter friend, you’d imagine, might well be top of the pile in that department.

Truth to tell, it looked as if Murtagh had got it completely wrong for most of the straight and you simply would not have wanted to be on Rip Van Winkle until the final ten strides.

If he had got it wrong then there would have been no hiding place and we can be certain the Post would have received more than just one text message!

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Saturday, June 19, 2021

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