Writing this blog from a soggy Dublin hotel room, hoping the rain (not forecast) pasts quickly so I can get out for a walk before racing.
Yesterday we enjoyed Day One of the new Dublin Racing Festival fixture and jolly good fun it was too. The highlight was the Irish Champion Hurdle, and the drama of Supasundae staying on too strongly for Faugheen, who now seems a fading force.
For punters, the winners you back make the difference between great and ordinary days, and getting on each way Supasundae at 16-1 (especially given the 8-1 starting price) paid for most of the weekend, and made for a great day. I couldn’t see him out of the first three and just felt the early 20s / 16s was too big – as it proved. And a great ride (again) from Robbie Power.
But I think the biggest plaudits should be for the organisers. They took two big Sundays, separated by a fortnight, and put them together into one first class weekend of sport. Sundays are the big days in Irish racing, far more than Saturdays, so this wasn’t guaranteed to be successful. But in the main the Irish trainers have targeted this meeting for the pre-Cheltenham runs for most of their stars and over 14,000 people turned up yesterday to support it. More are likely to be there today.
Leopardstown is a wonderful course. The ability to view the whole race is as good as anywhere and the home straight, which always feels so short on television, is beautifully set up for some dramatic finishes. It is not difficult to get a great pint of Guinness and the roar during the big race was as good as anywhere. If there was one area which could be improved it was to understand how to get a taxi after racing, as that was a bit chaotic.
So an excellent day yesterday, and looking forward to the Irish Gold Cup, the highlight of four Grade One races this afternoon – and the mighty Samcro.