It was, at least from a racing point of view, a magnificent couple of minutes of television. It happened on RTÉ on Wednesday, in the aftermath of Jonathan Burke guiding Shanahan’s Turn to a memorable success in the Galway Plate.
Burke was with Brian Gleeson, Ted Walsh and Bryan Cooper in RTÉ’s little area just outside the pressroom and they were subsequently joined by Davy Russell.
Out on the track 19-year-old Burke stole the show with a magical piece of riding aboard Shanahan’s Turn, but it was Russell who emerged as an unassuming hero in a riveting discussion, driven quite beautifully by Gleeson and aided by Walsh.
Russell partnered the unlucky Rule The World, who was about to launch his challenge to the winner when clipping the heels of Shanahan’s Turn between the final two fences and crashing to the turf.
The race had developed into a match at this stage and once Rule The World departed it was plain sailing for Shanahan’s Turn.
When Russell arrived for the postmortem with the boys his first action was to go and jokingly attempt to choke Burke. It was a great start.
Then he explained what happened. He said Shanahan’s Turn missed the second last, jinked a little to his left, that his horse flew the fence, closed down the leader and the rest was history.
It was done with great good humour, real style and panache, and with Burke and Walsh joining in, as Gleeson gently probed, made for terrific viewing.
It was almost as if a bunch of lads were chatting in a pub, so natural.
Winning the Galway Plate for Burke confirmed the opinion many of us already hold about him.
This is a seriously talented rider. He seems to have a great head on his shoulders, is tactically very astute, doesn’t get flustered and just needs his share of luck to have a chance of going all the way.
Last year in this column, I put forward the notion that Shanahan’s Turn shaped as the likely successor to sizing Europe for Henry de Bromhead.
But the horse lost his way somewhat in the latter half of the campaign and his reappearance at Killarney, just 15 days prior to the Plate, was less than promising.
He finished 13th of 13 finishers behind Enjoy Responsibly then, beaten over 65 lengths, and was actually 20 lengths adrift of the 12th horse home. I still toyed with the mad notion of having a few quid on and was given the final push when De Bromhead appeared on our screens shortly before the off.
He indicated his disappointment with the Killarney performance, but then reported that the horse’s rider on that occasion, Barry Geraghty, was much less so.
That was the clincher and a minor investment at 26-1 on Betfair meant we’d stay afloat for a while yet! It’s a long time since I’ve watched Galway from afar, but RTÉ and ATR was a good substitute for the real thing.
What’s the difference between the two? Well, everyone on ATR seemed to know what they were talking about, while only most of those on RTÉ fell into the same category. There are certain aspects of RTÉ’s coverage that are downright embarrassing and it didn’t start today or yesterday!
Any regular reader of this column will be aware that an opportunity to give the stewards a kicking is rarely missed.
On Monday night they sprung into action, after Kate Harrington had won the featured Connacht Hotel Handicap on Modem.
The stewards were none too pleased with her use of the whip and handed Ms Harrington a 10-day ban.
They reasoned that she had used the whip without giving her mount time to respond and, taking her record into account, acted accordingly.
The instant reaction was that this was harsh, spoiling her success, so I went back and watched the race again. Do you know what? they were absolutely right.
Harrington must have hit the horse 10 or 11 times in the closing stages and, as concluded by the stewards, never gave him a chance to respond.
Connor King has been a promising jockey for a long time, but you can only remain promising for so long.
Watching him at Galway this week, however, made you think he is now very much ready to move his career to the next level.
I thought he was quite superb when taking a two-mile handicap on Harry Rogers’ Benkei on Tuesday night.
There was a real dash and drive in the power he generated from the saddle in the closing stages.
And it was a case of more of the same from the young man on Wednesday, as he forced Bribe The Bouncer up close home to land another handicap.
Unluckiest horse of the week had to be Tony Martin’s Laganore in an extended mile handicap on Wednesday.
I gather Martin was especially sweet on this daughter of Fastnet Rock and she went off a heavily backed favourite.
But her rider, Leigh Roche, who doesn’t make many mistakes, will have nightmares about this.
Laganore was locked away at all stages and found literally every bit of trouble that was available.
We still have no real idea as to how good the three-year-old is.
She does, however, have to be afforded due consideration going forward.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved