Last week I wrote about the need for the IHRB to publicise the results of the tests they took from all the racehorses they tested at the site of the DAFM raid in Monasterevin two weeks ago. They did so during the week, and the negative results are welcome, though they didn’t surprise me.
It was good news for those involved and, after all, each racehorse was on that site for laser treatment on tendon injuries, though we don’t know what the non-racing horses were there for.
For the DAFM, this case is not closed. Their issue with what John Warwick had in his car is still an ongoing investigation, and we remain in the dark about what those products were. It is still a question that remains unanswered, and one racing could do with knowing.
The IHRB is spending a pretty penny testing a vast portion of the racehorse population in out-of-competition situations and chasing leads down all sorts of rabbit holes. The cryptic crossword is proving too tricky, so could those who know please deliver a simplex version so we can finish this and move on?
Reputations are getting thrashed in the crossfire, and the defence is getting tiresome. To repeat myself, every walk of life has a few bad apples, but the majority are good, and we are lucky to have some talented people in racing who deserve praise right now for what Irish-trained horses are achieving.
Henry and Rachael - let’s face it, if you’re into horse racing you don’t need their second names anymore - blew the opposition aside last Saturday at Haydock with A Plus Tard. APT, as his trainer refers to him, was reminiscent of Kauto Star in 2006 as he powered clear of his rivals from the second-last fence. But that looked inevitable from well before Rachael let the handbrake off, such was the ease of how he travelled and jumped.
This has been their year, and the next two days could put the cherry on their well-iced cake. To me, Eklat De Rire looks to be the only possible Gold Cup contender lining up in today’s Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury. I know my allegiance will be with Ontheropes for Willie Mullins, and he could be a National Hunt Chase type or even a Grand National horse, but could he be a challenger for the Blue Riband event of the season? I don’t think so. But Eklat could.
He travelled very well when he unseated Rachael in the Brown Advisory Chase at The Festival last March and may well have given Monkfish a race. He is still unexposed and managed to win his prep race at Wexford when many of his stablemates were beaten. The same could be said of Fiddlerontheroof as the Tizzard team never really hit full flow last term but are back in form this season. Yet, the scope for improvement lies more with the Knockeen resident, and the path for the horses in that stable seems to be slightly downhill, such is the momentum they have.
This race has often seen the class rise to the top. Denman and Bobs Worth, to name just two, both won it en route to Cheltenham glory, but it was here that they announced themselves. And we know who the team making the statements is right now.
Tomorrow they will both be back on more familiar soil as their darling Honeysuckle bids for a 13th straight career success in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle.
Make that 14 if you wish to include her point to point victory from Dromahane in April of 2017.
Her last seven have been at the highest level against her male rivals. She is a superstar in equine terms and her performances last season showed us that she has it all.
She was spectacular at the Dublin Racing Festival, superior to her rivals at Cheltenham, and did what the greats do at Punchestown: find a way to win when not playing their A-game.
She is an asset to our sport, and I can’t wait to watch her tomorrow, as will the many. my daughters included, who will make their way to Fairyhouse because she is running. They know her program and targets, and when you add Rachael into the equation - sorry Henry - you have something people want to support and be part of headline makers for what the sport truly represents.
The €19m Lotto is still dangling before our eyes, but I will stick to my new method. We got 4 “numbers” last Saturday, and my mother was thrilled with her return, so this is the plan for today.
A trip to Mexico just after Christmas (Gringo D’Auberelle, 1.01 Fairyhouse) would be a grand (Grangee 1.36, Fairyhouse) way to bring in the New Year, and some (Annsam, 1.50 Newbury) sun would break the dark days. Ah right (Aye Right, 2.05 Newcastle), a holiday anywhere would do, but we need to aim high so Soaring Glory (2.25 Newbury) could help us find the Grey Diamond (3.35 Newbury) to put the sparkle on the festive season.
On Sunday, the Bonus draw begins with a Direct Image (12.00 Fairyhouse ) of gold wire (Fil Dor, 12.35 Fairyhouse), before lunch. Then My Mate Mozzie (1.05 Fairyhouse) will fulfil a Lifetime Ambition (1.35 Fairyhouse) by getting a date with Elimay at 1.45 in Carlisle.
The safe option would be to buy her a Honeysuckle (2.40 Fairyhouse) as first impressions count - or maybe they’ll have a stroll down Eskylane at 3.10 in Fairyhouse.