Ross O'Sullivan: We've still got plenty to look forward to
The Betway ambassador reveals his plans for the coming months following the announcement that Irish racing will be halted until at least 19 April.
I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t gutted when it was announced on Tuesday that racing would stop after the fixture at Clonmel that day.
Racing behind closed doors was proving that it could work but, in order to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the decision is fully supported by everyone.
I think the Irish government and Horse Racing Ireland have dealt with the whole thing very well – giving a date of 19 April for a potential return has given everyone hope and something to work towards in these times of uncertainty.
Following the announcement, we’ve had to speak with all our owners to make plans going forward.
We’ve got to consider the horse, first and foremost.
In some cases, we’ve been able to slow a few of the horses down who were due to go out to grass in a month or so’s time. As the grass isn’t quite ready yet – it usually is by May – we’ve just started slowing down their regimes.
They’ll spend more time on the walker than in heavier and faster work. This will just keep them ticking over until the grass is ready and then we’ll take their shoes off and let them enjoy their summer.
We’re lucky in the sense that April and May are when our staff usually take holiday and time off, so it’s not going to affect our staffing schedule too heavily in the coming weeks and months.
We’ve got a few younger National Hunt horses who we’ve decided to keep in for the time being.
They’ll be learning their trade in bumpers next season and we’ll focus on letting them learn their trade at home before they go off to enjoy some summer sun. The experience and extra time at home won’t be lost on them, we hope.
We’ve probably got around 10 or 12 who will stay on the go during the summer here, which is about our usual number. With no racing, we’ve been delayed in getting the early types out.
We’ve got a handful of two-year-olds and we’ll just have to make do with the current situation by keeping them ticking over at home and, again, letting them learn more from the work we put into them before they make their racecourse debuts.
Obviously, there is no substitute for racing experience, but we’ve got that to look forward to when racing resumes.
We’ve recently bought a horse from Eddie Harty’s yard called Longbourn, who I think we’ll have plenty of fun with this season.
He’s a maiden after five starts, though the son of Mukhadram was placed on three occasions, and we’ve been pleased with what we’ve seen so far at home.
In the meantime, everyone here hopes that the Betway Insider readers stay safe and well and we look forward to speaking with you soon.
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