Supreme week for racing club
Supreme Racing Club have long been in the vanguard
for racing clubs and syndicates and they provided the best possible
advertisement for the most accessible route to racehorse ownership when enjoying
Grade 1 success on the double at Leopardstown during the Christmas Festival.
The 71 races run over four days at Leopardstown,
Limerick and Down Royal were won by 47 different owners, and nine of those came
from syndicates, partnerships or racing clubs.
When Aramon hacked up in the Paddy Power Future
Champions Novice Hurdle, the celebrations were raucous as the Supreme
contingent were out in force and considering the possibility of success in the
opener at Cheltenham in March with which they share a name.
Kemboy’s similarly effortless bound to glory in the
Savills Chase saw him catapulted into the Gold Cup picture and needless to say,
the parade ring was a sea of exultant cheering after that too. Indeed having a
group to share the experience with is another attraction of this type of
ownership model, quite apart from the relative affordability.
Supreme Racing have known phenomenal success,
initially thanks to an astute policy of leasing mares from breeders and linking
up with champion trainer Willie Mullins. They have branched out into outright
ownership in recent years, with a view to targeting higher-grade victories. It
is a policy that has paid dividends, with the dreams of much more to come.
All roads lead to Dublin Racing Festival
Generally, the various divisions of National Hunt
racing begin to take shape after the Christmas period but after the most recent
festive programme, we were left with more questions, rather than too many
existing ones being answered.
Everywhere you turned a hot favourite was beaten
and a new contender announced itself. One has to imagine that the unseasonable
weather and ground conditions prevailing at this time has had some sort of
impact, and that there is improvement to be found in many horses right now.
That is why the Dublin Racing Festival can’t come
quick enough. With seven Grade One races, it is a jewel in the jump racing
calendar but the secret to why it had such an immediately positive impact last
year was its place in the calendar, between Christmas and Cheltenham.
Trainers have had to deal with completely new
circumstances this term and are literally learning on the hoof. Even the very
best were surprised by how undercooked some of their charges might have been
and work is sure to be stepped up significantly, although they are crying out
for more rain to facilitate that.
Remarkably, the likes of Presenting Percy, Laurina
and Penhill almost had their claims for major Cheltenham honours strengthened
by not competing but while the latter garnered the Stayers’ Hurdle last March
on his seasonal debut, it is certainly not the ideal route and definitely not
the way Pat Kelly or Willie Mullins would like to target a Gold Cup and
All of which makes the Unibet Irish Gold and BHP
Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle in particular intriguing prospects. And we know
that the leading trainers and owners have plenty of novices to unleash yet too.
The countdown to DRF is on.
Farewell, not goodbye, to The Doc
Pat Smullen almost stole the show by his appearance
at Leopardstown on Saturday, but in the end, no-one lost sight of who the guest
of honour was.
Smullen, who is continuing his recovery from
treatment for pancreatic cancer, was in attendance to pay tribute to the great
Dr Adrian McGoldrick, retiring as IHRB senior medical officer.
Known to everyone in the weigh room as The Doc,
McGoldrick is a hero among jockeys and oversaw a complete overhaul in safety
standards for jockeys during his tenure.
He has a very high-class successor in Jennifer
Pugh, who is well known in racing circles, not just as a racecourse doctor
since joining IHRB in 2012, but as a point-to-point jockey.
Adrian will not be lost to racing though. Indeed,
as a GP in Newbridge, many of the industry’s protagonists deal directly with
him anyway. And those that were comfortable with calling him at any hour of the
day or night – a practice he encouraged – will undoubtedly continue to do so.
Meanwhile, his passion for improving the lot of the
jockeys, in terms of safety and health, will continue, via lobbying and research,
particularly in the areas of concussion, helmets, back protectors and mental
His contribution to a better, safer working
environment for jockeys especially will never be forgotten but he’s not done