Five furlong races aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but there is something special about seeing a real star, who is all about sheer speed and nothing else.
The hope is that Dandy Man fits the description perfectly and is poised to give his 82-year-old trainer, Con Collins, a day to remember.
The son of another flying machine, Mozart, was a decent juvenile, but never really hinted he might be capable of going right to the top of the sprinting tree.
This season, however, he has been a revelation. Dandy Man started by finishing second to Moon Unit at Naas, that wasn’t overly exciting, but he has progressed at a rate of knots in the meantime.
He then won a Group Three at Newmarket, but it was his performance at Royal Ascot which was the clearest evidence here was a Group One winner in waiting.
Contesting the Group Two King’s Stand Stakes and very badly drawn, he dead-heated for fourth behind Australia’s Takeover Target. All the principals raced on the stands’ side, with Dandy Man over on the far side. That he was beaten less than a length was a remarkable performance.
Dandy Man came back to Ireland to produce a smooth display when landing a Listed race from the useful Benbaun.
Connections immediately nominated the Nunthorpe as his target and he has clearly been trained to the minute for this his stiffest test. It is not a vintage period for sprinters. If Dandy Man is as good as some of us believe he’ll win.
THE Tralee Festival kicks-off on Monday and runs right through ‘til Friday. Hopefully, the feelgood factor in Irish racing right now will spill over to the Kerry track.
They have made every effort to promote their Festival and what we all want to see next week are big crowds and a ringing endorsement the public believes the game has a real future at Tralee.
Monday can be best described as a semi-evening meeting, with a 4.15 start, while the other four days will see a more conventional afternoon start.
I think if Tralee is ever to be supported then now is the time. It comes on the back of some hugely successful Festivals, led, of course, by Galway. But attendances were healthy at the four-day Killarney Festival and Tramore, at least the two days I was there, was absolutely thronged.
MIND you large attendances at race meetings don’t please every one, as I discovered in a recent letter from a man in Thurles. He gave out yards to me about Galway. Here’s some of what he said: “Regarding the attendance on Galway Hurdle Day the safety and comfort of patrons should be given more consideration.”
He goes on to make the point that 48,000 is far too many and that the Thursday at Galway should be all-ticket with a safety limit of 30,000. I loved this part of his letter: “Let’s face it half the attendance on Hurdle day are there just to be seen, idiots who have no interest whatsoever in the sport.”’ You’re a gas man! He makes other points, such as the number of horses killed and jockeys “seriously injured”’ was unacceptable. He urges me, in a future article, to refer to this, along with the overcrowding. Well, he had the courage to include name and address, letters lacking such necessities go directly to the bin, and his views are well worth recording.
To the man from Bandon who wrote about a certain horse who ran at Ballinrobe, partnered by a top jockey, I did see the race and have it on tape. I am not a fan of that particular horse, love the jockey, but will obviously join you in watching future developments.