Dreams still come true
It is the perception of many people that you have to have big money to be involved in the horse racing game. This is probably more true in the megabucks flat racing part of the sport, but the jumps side of things can still throw up the romance of the cheaply-bought horse surprising everybody and giving a real thrill to connections.
Dreams can still come true in the point-to-point arena in particular if you have a good eye for a horse and a little slice of good fortune. There were a couple of good examples of this recently with both Pat Doyle from Courtown and Michael Goff from Clondaw in Ferns scoring good wins with relatively cheap horses.
Pat Doyle has been involved with horses for a long time but he was probably better known as the boss of the Peugeot dealership with P and H Doyle in Courtown until he became semi-retired a few years ago, leaving his sons to mostly mind the business.
Pat has had a decent enough run with the horses in recent years but he is hoping he may now have hit the jackpot. At the West Waterford meeting in Boultra, Cork, he won the four-year-old mares' maiden with Tilly's Delight (Verglass-Miss Me), ridden by 19-years-old John O'Connor.
This one led all the way, jumped like a stag and looked really impressive. This was the first-ever points win by a Verglass mare and what made it really sweet for Pat was the fact that he had picked her up at the sales for just €3,000.
Tilly's Delight has been practically a one-man project for Pat; he bought her, still owns her, trains her and rides her out himself nearly every morning. He is hoping to aim her at a bumper race on the track now and he is convinced she has the potential to go a long way, probably eventually as a chaser.
He has had some big offers to buy Tilly's Delight but he is determined to take his chance and pursue his dream. It will be fascinating to see where the journey eventually takes the two of them.
Michael got off the mark for the season at the North Down meeting in Kirkistown with Clondaw Bisto (September Storm-Solo Venture) in the four-year-old maiden, under his stable jockey, Shane Fitzgerald, from Cork. Michael bought 'Bisto' for just €2,500 at the Tattersalls Ireland August 2014 sales and the horse is certainly worth many multiples of that now.
He is certainly on a roll as he and young Fitzgerald won two more four-year-old maidens in the week that followed with Clondaw Cracker and Clondaw Fonz. Here's hoping the season can go from strength to strength for them.