Tuesday 12 December 2017

Spectacle of National spoiled by 'PC' brigade

I have to say that I felt a sense of anticlimax after watching the Grand National last Saturday. Between political correctness gone mad and modern health and safety restraints, you wonder have people really lost the run of themselves.

For the first time ever, two fences had to be bypassed. Granted, there were horses down on the track, but it's not as if that has never happened before, and there was obviously an alternative method of dealing with it in the past. I mean, if you're missing out fences in the Grand National, what next? The fact that the winning horse didn't go back to the winner's enclosure was a negative too.

This year, a decision was made to get water over the horses out on the track -- fair enough -- but if they had given Ballabriggs a few minutes to get his oxygen back he would have been fine.

As it was, Aintree left itself wide open to criticism. And it's all because of the 'PC' brigade. In recent years, the National has become similar to the Gold Cup, a better-class chase, because the fences have been made less difficult. What that means is that you now have quality horses running in the race that have a much higher cruising speed, hence a faster pace. The problem, though, is that the lesser horses are being run off their feet -- and that is only going to end one way.

Ultimately, the National is a victim of its own success, pandering to everyone, and the most frustrating thing is that it is the politically correct vocal minority that have influenced it most. We love our horses and these are risks we all choose to accept.

At Leopardstown on Sunday, One Up One Down scored for us under 10lb claimer Danny Benson. It was his first run of the season, and I used Danny's claim as I felt it might make the difference.

One Up One Down has now been sold to race in Hong Kong -- a good market for the right horse. Our policy is to bring two-year-olds along to win races, keep them until the end of their three-year-old year at the most, then sell them when the price is right.

When I got back, I got out for an hour on my bike. Cycling is my thing. I find it great for the mind and body, so I try to get in 20 miles, and maybe twice that, twice a week if my schedule permits. Unfortunately, the new week got under way with a funeral. Ned Byrne, a friend who worked at Woodpark Stud here in Meath, had been ill and passed away on Sunday.

Along with John Brady, Ned bought and sold both Ballabriggs and Oscar Time as youngsters. Although Ned didn't get to see what was a great one-two for them in the National, John reckons he hung around for it all the same. He got a nice send-off.

Wednesday was a work morning. Our horses won't be fully wound up until after the Punchestown Festival in May, but they have all been running as well as expected and I couldn't be happier with where they are right now.

The next few days will be our busiest this term, and you can keep right up to date via @gerloyonsracing on Twitter or you can find us on Facebook. At Dundalk tonight, Bible Black should go close; he was hampered on his debut, and has come on plenty since.

Red Army Blues, beaten a short-head on his reappearance three weeks ago, will also be thereabouts in the six-furlong handicap, while Printmaker is another to watch. He makes his handicap debut over 10 furlongs and, if he doesn't win today, he will soon.

Tomorrow, Peahen and The Reaper would be the pick of mine at Naas, and Reasons Unknown is another that should make his presence felt at Navan on Sunday. I'll be disappointed if we don't get a few results.

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

Irish Independent

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