Friday 24 March 2017

Hoping team Geraghty scores for goal in jockeys' olympics

With no ride at Leopardstown on Saturday, I kicked back in front of the television for the afternoon. Between the racing, the Manchester derby and Liverpool versus Wigan, there was plenty of channel hopping -- not to mention a few surprises.

As a Liverpool fan, it wasn't the best of days, with two points dropped at Anfield and United winning thanks to Wayne Rooney's wonder goal. A result for City might have opened the title race up a bit, but you can't see United dropping the points now. Pity.

Events at Newbury made for bizarre viewing. As you watched it live, no one really knew what had happened to the two horses that died in the parade ring. After a while, though, it became apparent that they must have been electrocuted.

You could see from the way Tony McCoy's horse was behaving at the start that it had to be something like that. He looked desperately rattled.

Of course, to rub salt in the wound, McCoy then missed out on the winning ride on Kempes in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown as well. That's racing for you.

It was a great triumph for David Casey. He wasn't even due to ride in the race when it was originally scheduled for the previous Sunday, but it was thoroughly deserved; one man's loss and all that.

I was back in action myself at Navan on Sunday, but had no joy on Take A Stroll for my boss Christy Roche. Afterwards, with no racing on Monday, a gang of us went into Kildare to celebrate David's Hennessy win. Suffice to say we enjoyed the night!

Monday was back to the grindstone at Christy's, although thankfully I had nothing too taxing on the agenda. I'm in Christy's every day, and I school for whoever needs me once I've finished there of a morning.

On Tuesday the schooling ground on The Curragh was open, so I ventured down there at about 12.0 to school a couple for Ted Walsh and James Leavy. It was just a case of popping a couple of youngsters over fences and it all went without a hitch.

Every Tuesday night I play five-a-side soccer on the Astroturf in Naas. Nicky O'Shea, Mark Walsh and Garrett Cotter are involved too, so it's good sport. Mark tends to take the whole thing a bit seriously, but there's always one isn't there?

The following afternoon I was on duty at Punchestown. Ten Bob ran a fair race to be seventh for Colm Murphy in the maiden hurdle, but unfortunately Coole Colleen broke down in the mares' equivalent. It's never nice to be on them when that happens.

It was onto Clonmel then yesterday, where both my rides performed well. Abialright finished fourth in the maiden hurdle for Matthieu Palussiere, and John Coleman's Un Hinged plugged on for third in the Powerstown Chase. Still, no cigar.

Maybe I'll have more luck over the weekend. I'm not sure yet what I'll have at Gowran Park tomorrow, but I am booked for a couple at Naas on Sunday. The boss's Silent Creek may be the best of them in the Osbourne's Solicitors Handicap Hurdle.

Silent Creek was unlucky not to win over fences at Limerick after Christmas, when a mistake at the last cost us. At Leopardstown last time, the dead ground didn't suit him when he finished sixth. Conditions might be similar on Sunday, but his hurdle mark is favourable compared to his chase mark, so he has a chance.

On the day, I will also be making my debut in the Jockeys' Olympics, which is being run in aid of the Goal Haiti Appeal. Myself, Robbie Power and Paddy Flood are on Barry Geraghty's team, with Paul Carberry and Davy Russell leading the other teams.

I'd like to tell you that Geraghty has been busy putting us through our paces in preparation, but that would be a lie. I expect we'll just turn it on come the day.

The full programme is an egg-and-spoon race, a slow bike race, a three-legged race and a penalty shoot-out. To be quite honest, I'm still not sure which one of those I see myself excelling in. I guess finding out will be half the fun.

For more information on racing in Ireland this weekend check out www.goracing.ie

Irish Independent

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