Monday 21 January 2019

Joseph just had one of those days

Firstly, let me start by saying that the Irish Champions Weekend was an outstanding success and everyone involved can be quite proud of what was achieved.

We had a surprise outcome in the Irish Champions Stakes and I suppose it wasn't Joseph O"Brien's finest hour. But rather than just jump on Joseph's back straight away, I spoke to a number of the lads who rode in the race and what people may not have picked up from watching it was that the pace was slowed right down just as Joseph was making his move around Al Kazeem and that is the point at which he was unfortunately caught out.

There is no doubt that Joseph will regret not taking a pull at that stage as they was still five furlongs to go but there is no jockey that doesn't experience those disappointments.

I said last week that Ryan Moore has few equals, and that certainly hasn't changed. Last Saturday, he saved ground everywhere on The Grey Gatsby and even when it looked as though the horse was under pressure turning in, Ryan obviously felt the rest of them were 'at it' too far out because he didn't pick up his whip until the furlong pole so he was always pretty confident.

But every dog has his day and while Ryan excelled on Saturday, on Sunday he probably got caught out a bit on Adelaide in France. It means that someday soon Joseph will be a hero again.

Brown Panther was good in the Irish St Leger on Sunday and I wouldn't say it was Joseph's fault on Leading Light, as he was on a lazy horse and the field needed to do more to bring him into the race as his style of racing means that he is always in need company. None of the jockeys should have let a horse of Brown Panther's calibre off so far so it certainly wasn't just Joseph's fault.

Many people expected the weekend to be a Ballydoyle benefit fund and that certainly wasn't the case. Gleneagles and John F Kennedy impressed and the future is bright but a lot of people got a piece of the pie and the English trainers will be back next year.

It was fantastic for Willie McCreery to get his first Group One success with Fiesolana and it topped a great weekend for Billy Lee.

Nobody seemed to tell the Gardaí about racing, though, and it was more anger management than traffic management on the way to the Curagh Sunday, but I'm sure that won't happen again and it was brilliant to see the crowds on both days.

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