High praise for cool O'Keeffe
It was quite a busy week on the home front this past week over the jumps and on the flat, with some valuable races on offer at the Curragh and at the Killarney Festival while Seán O'Keeffe scored a remarkable win at Sligo on Tuesday.
O'Keeffe (Taghmon) was way out the back for much of the way in the three mile hurdle on Mark McNiff's (Sligo) Pump Road (5/2), but he stayed cool and began to pick his way through the field in the closing stages and got up comfortably in the end with a nicely judged ride.
McNiff was delighted with the O'Keeffe ride: 'I thought the young lad was brilliant on him. He's a horse that if he doesn't find a rhythm he's no use.'
Seán Flanagan scored in the opener for Noel Meade on Caer (11/8), outstaying Paul Townend on the Willie Mullins-trained Bronagh's Belle (5/4).
There was a four-day festival ay Killarney, with a couple of the cards mixed. Jonathan Moore made the trip for just one ride on Wednesday evening and made it pay in the €50k feature on Darvar Star (13/2) for Gavin Cromwell.
At Kilbeggan on Saturday evening Seán O'Keeffe had his second for the week on board Josephina (5/2f) for Tony Mullins, coasting in by almost ten lengths.
In Britain, Daryl Jacob has been taking things very easy during the summer and had just two rides at Newton Abbot in the past fortnight and he won on Glanville's Guest (5/2).
There was a valuable flat card at the Curragh on Friday with the O'Brien team having rushed back from York, and they picked up the big one, the €130k Group 2 Gallileo Futurity Stakes with the very promising Armory (2/1) completing a hat-trick under Ryan Moore.
This made up for a couple of earlier disappointments with Cabot Hills (3/1) and Yales (5/4) finishing down the field. Seamie Heffernan took the opener on Wichita (5/1) by a head from Jim Bolger's Fiscal Rules (14/1).
O'Brien and Bolger had a winner each in the less salubrious surrounds of Roscommon on Monday evening, with Sherpa (9/2) under Donnacha and Cerro Bayo (10/1) under Kevin Manning for Bolger, and O'Brien completed his week with National Guard (5/1) winning at Killarney on Saturday under Seamie Heffernan.
The unequal nature of TV coverage was well illustrated on Saturday with a lot of meetings on a bank holiday weekend in Britain. Of course, all Irish meetings are now shown on Racing TV and even those with the expensive Sky Sports package can only see the Irish racing live by paying a substantial extra monthly fee.
There was one meeting on Sky on Saturday, while Racing TV had to cram in eight meetings, including Kilbeggan and Killarney.
I'm surprised there has not been a bit more concern from Irish punters about the cost of keeping up to date with our own meetings and the sometimes rushed nature of the Irish coverage because of meetings clashing.