The Betway ambassador reacts to a mix-up ahead of the Grand Steeple Chase de Paris, the Gigginstown news and his brother-in-law Ruby Walsh's retirement.
Ever since Baie Des Iles won the Grade 2 Prix des Drags at Auteuil last June we had planned her season around this Sunday’s Grade 1 Grand Steeple Chase de Paris, so it was really disappointing to get an email on Thursday saying we had been eliminated.
She was on her way and the lads had got down to Warwick on Wednesday night. We were planning to go via the Tunnel on Thursday morning, but when we got the email through they had to turn around and head back home.
From what I hear it’s been a very long time since any horse has been eliminated from this race. It’s just very frustrating for all of us, especially her owner Zorka Wentworth who was really looking forward to it.
There was nothing we could do, I thought they would have taken into account her Prix des Drags form as the horse she beat that day, Bipolaire, is the highest rated runner in Sunday’s field. They used her Irish and British rating of 142, her French rating is much higher so it’s just a shame.
She is in really good form. She fell at Down Royal the last day, but looked like she would have won and we were going there hopeful of a big run.
She got home on Thursday evening and has worked this morning [Friday], so we just need to focus on the Prix des Drags in three weeks. It’s a prestigious race with fantastic prize money and that is now the plan. She was fantastic in it last year and loves it round Auteuil.
Gigginstown decision a shock
I was at the sales on Wednesday when the news about Gigginstown broke. Everyone wanted to discuss it and it was a shock for us all.
It’s going to affect people in different ways and I suppose firstly it will be the vendors who are selling their store horses. It’s the Land Rover sale in a couple of weeks’ time and Gigginstown would normally have bought a lot there.
Ciaran Murphy broke all their horses so he’ll certainly feel the shockwaves, as will the likes of Colin Bowe, Mouse Morris and Pat Doyle.
Then there’s the trainers like Gordon Elliott, Henry De Bromhead, Noel Meade and Joseph O’Brien, it will hit them in stages.
I think they spend around €5m buying horses each year, so it’s obviously going to have a big effect.
But racing moves on, the wheels keep turning and I suppose for Gordon and the rest of the trainers, it’s good that it’s going to be a gradual reduction which gives everyone a chance to find new business. It’s very fair of them to do that.
Ruby very happy with his decision
I was there at Punchestown on the Wednesday when Ruby announced his retirement, unfortunately Katie couldn’t be as she was at the sales.
It was very special and great that he did it at Punchestown after such a big win. Close friends and family met up in the local village later and we had a few drinks. It was a late night.
He just seems very happy and comfortable with his decision, he has no regrets whatsoever.
He was obviously an absolutely brilliant jockey. He rode winners for us and was on board Call It Magic for all three of his wins over fences.
On a personal level, I will always remember him winning on Bendanella at Sligo a few years ago.
It was an unbelievable ride on a horse that probably didn’t deserve to win. Three out you would have said he was going to be nowhere but he came from the clouds to win by a neck. I don’t think anyone else would have won on him that day.
It was only a small meeting at Sligo and it didn’t make any headlines, but it meant an awful lot to me and the owners.
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