When something from your younger years remains relevant and applicable years on, it obviously carries much credence and usefulness. Be that, for example, an inherited interest in sport or #farming or politics. Perhaps a fondness for a particular genre of #television, #music or reading material.
Against that, there’s a sense that, some of the time, some of the people take some of what goes on in these facets of life a smidgeon too seriously. For instance, I firmly believe that there are people out there who genuinely would vote for Homer Simpson if his name appeared on a ballot paper!
Yes, even television characters cast influence on the lives of those who encounter team. Lately, thoughts of John ‘Hannibal’ Smith from the A-Team lingered for a while as an apt opportunity to deploy his catchphrase “ I love it when a plan comes together!”
Well, in the pertinent case here, it wasn’t so much a case of a plan coming together as a long held premonition being proven correct and in so doing adding to the intrigue of the National Hunt racing season here, which is just about hitting meaningful lift off. You see, a good bit more than a year ago, a friend with family in Kilkenny provided the tip off that Joe Crowley’s former premises was undergoing a refurbishment.
Inference being that Crowley’s grandson – one Joseph O’Brien – was about to commence his training career at Owning Hill. Now, that inclination was imparted to quite a few in the interim but, for all the rumour and conjecture, the longer it went without any meaningful manifestations to back up such thoughts, the more dubious they felt.
That, even allowing for the fact that Aidan O’Brien is all the while becoming a more potent force on the NH scene. That may be no bad thing. However, even before a recent statement from Joseph confirmed the long held hunch to be accurate, his father had, very noticeably, been quoting the former’s views and opinions regarding their jump horses.
Whoever has been calling the shots, the yields thereof have been highly impactful – 25 winners in the sphere at the time of typing – and with horses like Kalopsia, Kilclispen, Tigris River and Lieutenant that’ll only markedly increase. What’s undoubtedly equally as fascinating though is to see O’Brien the younger having runners ‘in his own name’ in the point-to-point arena as well as the operation having runners for ‘outside’ patrons. That is to say, not Coolmore or JP McManus.
Gordon Elliott’s stock is continuing an inexorable rise too. In Don Cossack he has arguably the finest chaser in the land. Tycoon Prince, Whistle Dixie and Jetstream Jack are among others in the Longwood based string to be mindful of. You sense that if there is a pecking order among the Gigginstown trainers, he is tops thereof.
Dealing with such high profile clientele, there’s bound to be an untold amount of diplomacy at play. Still, for all the talk of assigned roles and acceptance of how things work, it must grate to see a horse you’ve started off and done all the groundwork with redeployed elsewhere.
Petit Mouchoir being the latest case in point. A winner of one of the top bumpers at the end of last season, he’s since transferred to Willie Mullins. Of course, such is the strength of the Closutton colossus’s armoury that attempting to gauge same would amount to futility. Suffice to say that an accumulator on his charges winning all the Championship races at Cheltenham would be a fairly sound wager.
Last season, Road To Riches propelled Noel Meade back to his rightful place annexing top races and can do again and with plenty of talented youngsters on the Tu Va team can be quite the force this season again. That would a special highlight from a personal viewpoint, as would any further success for Tony Martin’s Mydor.
Going back to the last campaign momentarily, the most special memories of same revolve around Jim Dreaper once again garnering some of the sport’s top prizes. Which transpired mostly due to the exploits admirably consistent Goonyella. Mention must also be afforded to Sizing Coal who, in running highly commendably in the Irish Grand National, suggested more big days await for him.
Yet, as good as the resurgence was last term, gut feeling is to imagine the campaign currently unfolding may be an even better one for the Greenogue stronghold. Primarily owing to eager anticipation for the conversion of Sizing Titanium – bred by the late Eoin O’Sullivan from Kilbride – to chasing and seeing how smart bumper winner Sizinguptheamazon progresses.
The two latter named are definitely worth taking note of and anyone hoping to win the battle with the bookies could do worse than follow those listed below also:
GUNNERY SERGEANT – NOEL MEADE
DISKO – NOEL MEADE
ICE COLD SOUL – NOEL MEADE
BELLSHILL – WILLIE MULLINS
UP FOR REVIEW – WILLIE MULLINS
YORKHILL – WILLIE MULLINS
PETIT MOUCHOIR – WILLIE MULLINS
JETSTREAM JACK – GORDON ELLIOTT
TYCOON PRINCE – GORDON ELLIOTT
SIZING TITANIUM – JIM DREAPER
SIZINGUPTHEAMAZON – JIM DREAPER
SIZING JOHN – HENRY DE BROMHEAD
VOLVALIEN – ALAN FLEMING
LIEUTENANT – AIDAN O’BRIEN
TESSERACT – AIDAN O’BRIEN