I love all sport, so I have been glued to the Olympics since returning after my involvement with the eventers.
We have enjoyed tremendous success with Katie Taylor winning her gold medal and the other boxers winning three others. Cian O’Connor was fantastic too, and might easily have had gold or silver, instead of bronze.
In fact, all the sports apart from athletics seems to have done well and I think adopting good, strong high performance programmes is the key to it. Certainly that is the case in equestrianism. They only have the high performance managers in place for four years and the progress in that time has been unbelievable. Four years isn’t a long time in the context of high performance programmes so there is more to come. What has happened in boxing shows us that.
The amount of money that Team GB put in is incredible. They get an unbelievable amount of funding from the British Lottery in addition to government funding. It is the lottery funding that has put them firmly on the map. In equestrianism alone they got three golds, one silver and one bronze.
Charlotte Dujardin took gold in the dressage and it was brilliant because she is living proof that the sport isn’t elitist. Her family isn’t wealthy. Her mother gave a very good interview afterwards where she told about how they took her here, there and everywhere to try to get spotted.
So the funding helped her come through, and gave her an absolute top class system in which to flourish. There is further pay-off in that her success will inspire more children to go to a pony club. So the positive spin-offs are tremendous. We will see that too with the success of the boxers and Cian, as well as the excellent performances of the eventers and sailors.
After a bit of a downer at Galway because of the ground, it was great to get a double at Cork on Monday. It was great for Tommy too, who rode the two of them.
It wasn’t so great for Robert too though. He asked me if he could get off Run ‘N Jump to ride Raise The Beat for Colm Murphy. They thought he had a very good chance whereas as our filly was having her first race.
I said “of course you can” and what happens? Run ‘N’ Jump wins a bit cosily, while Raise The Beat gave Robert a bad fall.
It was great for the Schoulers, who bred her. They also own Bostons Angel. His mare had only one more foal before she died so they bought another mare, Cut ‘N’ Run and Run ‘N’ Jump was her first foal.
She came to me around March having been in pre-training and was showing me nothing. I really thought about sending her home but decided to give her a six-week break as I thought she might prefer better ground. When she came back in, she seemed a different filly, worked very well and is a very good jumper.
We were probably lucky that the favourite, Pique Sous was withdrawn in the morning, but to win a 22-runner maiden in that fashion was very pleasing.
We were delighted with Gimli’s Rock too. That was a funny one too because we didn’t really want to run him in that ground. But then we saw that there were only three declared. Then one came out. He loved going three miles because he never had to get bustled along and jumped great.
Leopardstown was pleasing enough on Thursday night. Polished Rock continued his improvement with a good second from the outside draw. He’s only a May foal, so he should be a really lovely horse next year. Takeyourcapoff ran a great race to be second too in ground that was a bit too soft.
In the Group 3, Steps To Freedom ran too free, while Bob Le Beau had to do the donkey work but Bible Belt ran a cracker to be third in ground that was a little too soft for her, as it was for the other two. But she has been in tremendous form.
That was a Group 3 but it could easily have been a Group 2 with the likes of Galileo’s Choice and Treasure Beach. Bible Belt will be aimed now for the Yorkshire Oaks, Steps To Freedom for the Ebor and Bob will run in the Group 2 Royal Whip Stakes tomorrow at the Curragh.
We have others with better chances of winning over the weekend.
Magical Steps is a very nice Giant’s Causeway filly making her debut in a Curragh maiden. She has been ready for over a month but we’ve been just waiting for an improvement in ground. She should be fit enough then and I would be hoping for a very good run.
I would be hopeful too about Celtic Cailin in the mares’ maiden hurdle at Downpatrick. She has been knocking on the door in three of her last four runs and this might represent a good opportunity for her to get her nose in front.
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