Queen’s National Stud visit a resounding success

YOU have good weeks in racing and in life but the last few days have been right up there, the undoubted highlight being meeting Queen Elizabeth at the Irish National Stud on Thursday.

The Royal visit to Ireland has been a resounding success from start to finish. It was amazing to have the opportunity to meet the Queen and full marks to the National Stud because the place looked immaculate and the entire event was organised so well.

The security was really smooth with various checks done in Kildare Village. We were bussed in from there and then run through where we were to go and what we were to do. It was interesting because apparently what she likes to do is meet people in little groups rather than in a long line.

So when she arrived, she met the Army equitation riders, a group from RACE that was introduced by Johnny Murtagh, the master farriers and some students from the stud, while a girl from Galway gave a demonstration of the simulator. Vintage Crop and Florida Pearl were paraded and of course she knew all about them given how knowledgeable she is about racing.

There was also an Arkle group, which included the great champion’s breeder, TP Burns who rode him in a flat race, Paddy Woods who also rode him, Willie Robinson who rode Mill House against him, Jim Dreaper whose father Tom trained him, and Peter Reynolds from Ballymacoll Stud where Arkle was born.

Because Ireland had a record 13 winners at Cheltenham it was decided to celebrate that by having the trainers at the Stud so thanks to Bostons Angel, I had the very considerable honour of introducing Willie Mullins, Henry de Bromhead, Gordon Elliott, Mouse Morris, Arthur Moore, Paul Nolan and Ian Ferguson. The Queen was very relaxed and had a lot to say to Willie in particular.

She then unveiled a modern sculpture of Sea The Stars, which had a star on top and the sea underneath, with the horse in the middle. It isn’t the normal racehorse sculpture but it is very nice.

At The Curragh today, Remember Alexander follows up his good second to Power in a two-year-old fillies’ maiden. We’re happy with her and Johnny Murtagh is booked but she is drawn on the outside at 16 of 16 runners so it would be some performance to win from there. Giving Orders won her maiden in Dundalk last month and is drawn nine of 20 in the handicap which is super. She is in good form and would have to be one of our better chances of a winner over the weekend.

Tomorrow, Laughing Lashes runs in the 1000 Guineas. She has been forgotten about, which is understandable given that she never figured in Newmarket. But the ground was much too quick on that occasion. We’ve had a little rain and any more that might come would suit. It’s not that she wants it soft. Good racing ground will be fine and I must say I’m hopeful of a very good run if we get that.

I’d be hoping Banksters Bonus will run a big race in the Gallinule Stakes as well. He came out of his last race really well when second to Adilapour at Gowran Park. I’m very happy with him and think he will go close. Bob Le Beau shoulders top weight in the mile-and-a-half handicap although Shane Foley takes three pounds off. He’s a class horse so whether he’ll be good enough to win lumping around top weight in a 12 furlong handicap will tell us where we’re going after this.

Hudson is a big three-year-old Galileo colt that will make his racecourse debut in a 10 furlong maiden and I’m hoping for a nice run. We have two in Limerick as well tomorrow. Fuschia Belle is running first time over hurdles after running a blinder in Punchestown. She has been schooling well although she’s always a bit free at home. She’s better when she gets to the racecourse though and you’d expect her to go close. The same applies to Law Rebel in the bumper. He was fifth on his debut in Punchestown and should be very competitive.


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