Without The Bop gets ball rolling in a week to remember
Last week's festival in Tramore, which is just a 20-minute drive from my base in Mooncoin, turned out to be a big one for us. Without The Bop got the ball rolling by making all in the beginners' chase under Shay Barry on the Thursday, before Bryan Cooper's seven-pound claim helped Dusty Trail prevail on the Flat on Friday.
The Fonze, the star of our show, was his usual dependable self then on Saturday. He had a hard race when he was fourth in the Galway Plate and we ran him back too soon on soft ground at Cork, so we had to decide whether or not there was one more day in him before giving him a break.
He was squealing and bawling at home in the meantime, though. He did a bit of work last week that was as good as anything he had done before Galway and my head lad, Ray Cody, couldn't have been any happier with him. After meeting plenty of trouble in running, it was a fair effort for a nine-year-old to win on the Flat while conceding weight to everything.
Between the Flat, hurdles and chases, that was The Fonze's fifth win of 2010 -- happy days indeed.
I ran Without The Bop again on Sunday. He had more to do this time but he made another bold bid for it, eventually finishing fourth. I doubt he's done winning yet.
King High brought proceedings to a close with a mighty triumph in the winners-of-one chase. At Galway last time, he punctured a blood vessel in his knee and Shay had to pull him up. He'd been working well again since then, so it was no surprise to see him back to his best and he'll probably head for Listowel now.
I own a small country pub in Carrigeen village, so all roads led back there on Sunday. Shay was in situ along with the team from the yard and a lot of the owners turned up too, and I can assure you there was a bar extension on the night!
In spite of Waterford's defeat earlier in the day, Shay, who is from Dunhill, managed to get himself up for one of his famous renditions of 'The Old Dungarvan Oak'. He wasn't the only one in full voice -- there were plenty of others only too happy to help out -- and a super evening was had by all.
We've a great bunch of workers at the yard, so the night out was well deserved. It's not every week you send out four winners in as many days. Mind you, Monday was a bit slow.
Ray must have been up early all the same because he spent the morning driving the tractor past my bedroom window. To be honest, the prospect of a lie-in appealed greatly, but his antics didn't leave me with much of an option but to go out and face it.
While production wouldn't have been high, we did manage to work a few. Winners Toast, which runs at Killarney tonight, did a lovely piece. He finished second at Roscommon last time so I'd expect him to go well in the Grand Hotel Handicap Hurdle now. Cnoc Rua went well too. He won nicely at Cork and will be thereabouts at Kilbeggan this evening if he gets the extra three furlongs in the Martinstown Hurdle.
Things were back to normal by Tuesday. All the Tramore runners did light exercise and seemed none the worse for their efforts. That was pleasing, as the ground had been quick enough down there.
The following morning we schooled a few youngsters over poles. Sixteen Forty Two, which won twice on the Flat for David Wachman during the summer, was one that went really well. I purchased him from David recently, and he finished a good fourth for me in the big handicap on the Saturday at Galway. He'd be one to keep an eye out for when he goes hurdling in the autumn.
Apart from Satu's convincing win on his chasing debut in Killarney last night, the rest of the week was fairly uneventful, though it was great to watch Dirar win the Ebor at York for Gordon Elliot on Wednesday. I know Gordon well but he hasn't put in an appearance in my pub since I bought it last year. Now might be a good time to nab him for a few!
For more information on racing in Ireland this weekend check out www.goracing.ie.