Friday 15 December 2017

Paddy's lessons ring true in Fisher slip-up

Davy Condon

Davy Condon

I was glad to get the chance at Wexford last Saturday to make amends for getting beaten on Fisher Bridge in the Munster National. We got run out of it by a short-head at Limerick, and I knew as soon as I went past the finishing line that I'd got it wrong.

Fisher Bridge is a tough horse and battles away, but he doesn't find much off the bridle. At Limerick, I overdid the waiting tactics.

When he was travelling well before the last, I should have kicked on. Instead, I waited until it was too late, so I was disappointed with myself afterwards. Thankfully, the owner was happy to put me up again at Wexford, and we made no mistake this time.

After racing, I stayed in Carlow with my cousin Paul Townend, as I was riding at Wexford again the following day. When we arrived at the track on Sunday, the last fence had been re-sited because of concerns about ground where drains had been laid.

We knew there were issues with the ground on Saturday, but we didn't think it would get any worse because there was no overnight rain. As it turned out, though, the false patches had become dangerous on the hurdle course, so they had no choice but to call the meeting off after a second horse was killed in the third race.

I was meant to have four rides, but my best chance of a winner was on Fully Funded for Noel Meade in the second. He won easily, so I was lucky the way it panned out.

By the time I got back to where I live with my girlfriend Katie McGivern in Trim on Sunday night, I was wrecked after all the driving. I had an important ride at Galway on Monday, so we just sat down in front of the fire and watched the 'X Factor'.

Jessies Dream is a really exciting novice chaser of Gordon Elliott's. He can be a bit highly-strung, and I knew it was going to be important to settle him early on at Galway. In the end, he settled like a lamb, jumped well and won as he liked.

I definitely think he can develop into a Grade One novice, and he will go to either Cheltenham or Fairyhouse next. David Johnson, who retains Timmy Murphy, owns Jessies Dream, so I don't know if I will ride him, but it'd be nice to get another go. As it was, he was my third winner from three rides in three days. Not that I got much credit for that from my colleagues.

I had picked up Barry Geraghty, Keith Donoghue and Robbie Power at Kilcock en route to Galway, and Barry was constantly in my ear, accusing me of trying to rob Paul Carberry's job because I got the ride on Fisher Bridge ahead of Paul on Saturday. Then, after I won on Jessies Dream, both Barry and Paul were on to me for trying to steal Timmy Murphy's job.

I thought it was a bit rich from Barry, to say the least, seeing as he had pinched a winner off Robbie on one of Jessie Harrington's the same day. It was all in good spirits, though.

I drew blanks at Punchestown on Tuesday and Wednesday, but got on the scoresheet at Clonmel again yesterday when Whiskey Hall won at big odds for Eric McNamara. Eric hadn't had a winner for a while, so it was nice to have a bit of luck for him.

Before going to Clonmel, I arrived in to a fairly subdued Willie Mullins yard to ride out. I soon heard about Paddy's death. Paddy was a legend. I rode a little for him when I was apprenticed to Willie, and one abiding memory I have of him is of a day I rode Bob What for him at Listowel.

I was competing with Tadhg O'Shea for the apprentices' title at the time, but I was probably too sure of myself on Bob What that day, and Tadhg flew by me on one of Tom Cooper's to pip me on the line. Paddy wasn't happy, but he was a man of few words, so all he said to me was, "Get the video and go home and have a good look at it."

Suffice to say, if he saw me on Fisher Bridge at Limerick, he'd be probably have wondered if I ever learnt my lesson. May he rest in peace.

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