herald

Thursday 16 August 2018

Feels like the Flat is short-changed

When is November not November? This year's November Handicap at Leopardstown, which traditionally brings the end to the Irish turf season, will now take place in October - which seems a bit strange to me.

This week in Ireland we had no Flat racing until Dundalk's return tonight.

And after the Curragh on Sunday, we will have just 14 Flat meetings left in the season between now and the 'November Handicap' meeting at Leopardstown, two of which are mixed cards with jump racing and five of those are on the all-weather at Dundalk.

This means there are only seven full Flat racing cards left on turf in Ireland this season, and yet we had no meeting on the turf between last Sunday and this Sunday.

I remember when I was riding, it always thinned out after Listowel but I certainly never remember it being like this and we definitely went deeper into November.

It is very frustrating for trainers who have two-year-old and three-year-old maidens with whom they are going to try and win races or even just get runs into, and I think in Ireland we have to be able to adapt to put on meetings at shorter notice than we apparently can at the moment.

I suppose the one positive from the lack of racing is that I can sit back and enjoy the Ryder Cup and the All-Ireland hurling final replay this weekend, and I cannot wait to go back to Croke Park tomorrow evening.

When you get your chance against Kilkenny, you usually need to take it the first time.

But as a proud Tipperary man I'll be hoping that we can just shade it this time around.

I have to say, though, in all my time and in all my experiences around the world, the All-Ireland final as a sporting spectacle is unrivalled and, hopefully, we will be treated to another top-class occasion and game tomorrow, which will be a credit to everyone involved.

I will be keeping an eye too on the action at Newmarket tomorrow where Tiggy Wiggy and Eddie Lynam's Anthem Alexander will meet again in the Cheveley Park Stud Stakes.

Tiggy Wiggy just looks a very, very good filly and it is hard to knock her on what we have seen.

Cursory Glance saw a big boost to her form when she won the Moyglare Stakes at the Curragh on Champions Weekend.

Obviously, the two fillies have both gone one over on each other this year so far, so it will be interesting to see who comes out on top but I'll just side with Tiggy Wiggy.

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