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Flat end to season has silver lining

A FEW chilly or more likely bitterly and almost unbearably cold nights in Dundalk are all that remain of the Flat action in Ireland this side of the Cheltenham Festival.

The curtain was brought down on the season in rather disappointing style at the Breeders' Cup and Melbourne Cup. George Vancouver meant the Irish and Ballydoyle didn't leave America empty-handed, but high hopes St Nicholas Abbey and Excelebration just failed to reignite past form and send us out on a high.

Both ran game races on quick ground that they won't have experienced too often before, and were only beaten a length and a quarter and two lengths respectively.

But it was further evidence that with just one winner and one placed out of Aidan O'Brien's nine runners in Santa Anita, America is a tough place to crack for European horses at this time of year.

Hopes for another Dermot Weld winner in the Melbourne Cup were also dashed in the early hours of yesterday morning as, after a relatively slow-run race on ground far quicker than would be idea for Galileo's Choice, he couldn't land a blow and finished down in 20th. There was certainly a silver lining for the Irish bloodstock industry though, and one that we could be proud of as the first seven home in the Melbourne Cup this year, including winner green Moon (pictured), were all Irish bred, which is quite an astonishing achievement.