Sunday, 26 May 2013

We have just got back from Ireland and it was a great break. On Friday morning we were picked up from out hotel by Pat, our Irish friend and a very much respected bloodstock agent who had found a few horses he wanted us to see. It was good to get away from the suburbs of Dublin and see some proper Irish countryside. We met a lovely chap called Dessie, who had trained Monksfield amongst a few other top class horses and it was interesting to hear his opinion about the Irish economy and how it has affected the thoroughbred industry. We saw some quality horses but in particular a very nice four year old, who if allowed time (with the right owner/trainer) would make a very nice horse indeed. Hint hint......!
In the afternoon we went to the pont to point which was held at the back of the Tattersalls sale yard. My hopes that they would have spent the night watering were dashed as they clearly hadn't bothered. Needless to say there was complete carnage and was actually rather shocking and showed the darker, mercenary side of horse racing and how, to some, it is just a commercial venture. Five horses were shot in the first day due to broken legs or tendon injuries. There wasn't even a horse ambulance in attendance, so if a horse was lame on the far side of the track it either had to limp back to the stables or was just shot where it stood and pulled to the side of the track. Bearing in mind this was an International event and they knew that there would be a lot of visitors from the UK it really was quite extraordinary how little effort they made. It wasn't as if they hadn't got the watering facilities as they had actually watered the home straight where they knew people would walk across, but hadn't bothered with the far side of the track which was like concrete and was where most of the horses broke.  None of the UK horses ran - a very long way to come and then have to turn around again without having a run but they really had no other option.
Having said that, if it hadn't been for the appalling ground it was a great initiative and we met some wonderful people. The UK team did really well, riding horses they had never sat on before and won both the men's and the ladies divisions.
Before we caught our evening flight out we had supper with some very good friends, David and Pam, who had moved to Ireland four years ago and were able to see their lovely home and catch up with all the news
We are now getting ready for Kingston Blount. Unfortunately Christopher and Clare can't make it today so we won't be running their horses, but will be running Ponty and Dancer.