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Champions Day makes its mark

My first reflection on last weekend's British Champions Day is that James Doyle certainly took his punishment very well considering the severity of it. He misses the Breeders' Cup, the Melbourne Cup and they also threw £10,000 on top for something that certainly didn't look unpleasant to the eye.

Noble Mission is an idle sort of horse who kept responding for him clearly. What was he supposed to do? Put his stick down and come back in and tell Khalid Abdullah "sorry but I would have won if I had given him one or two more?"

You have to certainly question the rules there and I do think he was very hard done by and maybe Pat Smullen, who got three days after Forgotten Rules, got away light considering.

I thought the stewards were very tough on James Doyle but that aside he has really matured into that role as Khalid Abdullah's retained rider and is one of the leading jockeys around now.


It was another fantastic afternoon for Irish racing with Gordon Lord Byron winning again for Tom Hogan and what a fantastic job Tom has done with the horse and it is a fantastic story.

Dermot Weld's renowned patience with horses was also seen to full effect and Forgotten Rules looked very impressive.

There is no doubt that he looks a very high class horse and to go there and take on the very best and come through it is a fair performance but, I suppose we all know that Dermot is canny enough to know exactly what he has and that was well proven.

Despite all the talk about the day in the build up, I think it was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon's racing with some top class action and really good winners and the doubters were sent back into a corner.

It was especially nice to see the Moyglare Stud colours carried on two horses with live chances on such a big afternoon last week, obviously Forgotten Rules won, but Free Eagle ran a very good race also and he looks to be one that will make a big impact next season.

Moyglare are good supporters of the game and it's great to see them with a couple of high class horses.

Free Eagle was undoubtedly running on ground that was much softer than ideal for him but he finished off his race very well and it was yet another case of Dermot Weld being spot on to be patient.

Connections, also, were dead right to let him take his chance on Saturday afternoon even though the ground certainly did not suit as it was the end of the season and it will be May before we get the opportunity to see him on a racecourse again.