Well sad little people duly emerged from their burrows to have a go from the safety of social media at Ruby Walsh, after Benie Des Dieux had fallen at the last in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on Tuesday.
Walsh and Benie Des Dieux went down to the final flight with the contest in the bag, only for the eight-year-old to topple at the back of the obstacle.
She had jumped impeccably throughout and didn’t even make an error at the hurdle, but seemed to pitch on landing and was on the floor in a flash.
There was nothing Walsh could do, certainly there was no indication his partner would go to ground so easily.
Nor was there any evidence prior to Cheltenham that Benie Des Dieux was in any way a dodgy jumper. In eleven races over jumps, three of them over fences, she had never fallen.
She was successful in seven of them and only twice was out of the first three. Basically, you could have bet your life she wouldn’t depart at Cheltenham - but she did.
Life is all about ups and downs, but a handful of social media idiots had to justify their sad existences to spew out silly opinions and theories, all the time hiding behind anonymity, obviously.
Ah let’s just move on and not waste any more time on them and concentrate instead on a brilliant Walsh drive aboard Klassical Dream in Tuesday’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
As Klassical Dream passed the post in front the highly respected Nick Luck, on Racing TV, described Walsh as “the most masterful Cheltenham rider of all time.’’
That was totally accurate and I do believe this was one of his finest efforts. And anyone who thinks there is an element of talking through the pocket could not be more-right.
This was a contest where the off-course bookmakers bet as if they had joined a philanthropic foundation, so generous were the conditions that were on offer.
Their terms were so favourable to punters that betting on the exchanges would have made no sense at all.
I shovelled my money over the counter to Paddy Power, each-way at 6-1. You just had to play that way, with the firm going five places, in a non-handicap.
A punting acquaintance of mine, who was in England, fancied Angels Breath and went into a William Hill shop and had £1,000 each-way at 5-1. Listen to this, William Hill were paying seven places.
Now Angels Breath ran a stinker to finish over 22 lengths seventh of 13 finishers, meaning that my man got his money back. That was simply staggering.
But back to our own hero, Klassical Dream. He became very lit up before the race and caused a false start by charging the starting tape, with his head low to the ground.
By now I was regretting my investment and fully expected the five-year-old to race with the choke out and die a thousand deaths, as soon as the contest began in earnest.
But Walsh was having none of it and, rather remarkably, was the boss from the time the field got away from a standing start.
Afterwards, Walsh made little of what he had managed to do in television interviews, but here’s one who was in Nick Luck’s corner and thought we had witnessed a masterful display from the saddle.
Would Benie Des Dieux’s fall later on have taken the shine off Walsh’s afternoon? Of course, it would.
But I spent many an hour with him at Cheltenham, when ghost-writing his column for the Examiner, and his ability to rise above adversity, and see the bigger picture, was most refreshing. He wouldn’t even have found the brave laptop merchants an irritation.
REMEMBER, we wrote here last week about the British Horseracing Authority’s ability, for the want of a better word, to shoot themselves in the foot - equine flu, the use of the whip and whatever you’re having yourself?
But they hit a new low after the four-mile chase at Cheltenham on Tuesday when handing out suspensions totalling 37 days to three of the amateurs involved in the race.
The suspensions centred on equine welfare grounds and were bordering on the ridiculous. What was especially ludicrous was they gave Declan Lavery, who partnered third placed Jerrysback, ten days.
Their contention was that Lavery should have pulled up his mount because of “tired jumping errors’’ at the final two fences.
On ITV Tony McCoy threw the toys out of the pram and lambasted the BHA. McCoy was brilliant, as he tore into them, saying he was “embarrassed’’ for the BHA, accusing them of bringing racing into disrepute.
He quite rightly pointed out that had Lavery pulled up his mount, riders are supposed to gain the best possible placing, and the two in front had fallen what would have happened then? “I’ve not seen as bad a decision in 25 years coming to Cheltenham,” he exclaimed.
His no-holds barred analysis of the BHA action made for terrific television and moved some of us to see the man in a new light.
All the signs are that racing on ITV is proving very successful and more strong opinions on the part of McCoy will see that station enjoy an even higher rating.
And one other thing, we often give those responsible for running Irish racing a hard time. Realistically, though, compared to the BHA lot, our game is in the hands of geniuses!
SO, it seems as if we may get another all-weather track to go with Dundalk. In the immortal words of John McEnroe: “you cannot be serious?’’
I don’t know about you, but, as one who loves flat racing, I find Dundalk an almost total turn off.
I know it serves a useful purpose through the winter and gives some of the lesser names the chance to make decent money.
But it is soulless racing, much of it at a low level and just so repetitive. I mean just look at what was on offer on an eight-race programme at the track last night. I ask you, who wants to sit through six handicaps? Surely, the last thing Irish racing needs are many more doses of this stuff.
IT was smashing to see the delightful Rachael Blackmore ride her first ever Cheltenham festival winner on the Henry de Bromhead-trained A Plus Tard in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase on Tuesday.
She was the only lady rider in the 20-runner field, but what was so nice was the manner in which many of her male colleagues went out of their way to congratulate her. Respect has to be earned and you just got the impression she has it in spades.