Modern technology affords each and every one of us numerous advantages each and every day of our lives. Perhaps the simplest of which is to be able to communicate with people all over the globe with the push of a button. Now read on…
Last week, within minutes of being floored by the news of Graham Geraghty’s illness, I had communiques from Carolina USA, Sydney, Gloucester and Kerry with folks enquiring (a) how he was doing and (b) how I myself was coping with it all.
In the course of discussions with Alan Dowdall Down Under, almost inevitably with the week that was approaching, thoughts ended up in Flemington and musing about the Melbourne Cup. At this juncture I must employ a serious mea culpa. To Alan and my own pocket!
No matter where anybody is in the world, there’s a bit of home in everybody, and, though it’s over a decade since he was part of what was a fairly large exodus from Dunboyne, our shared passions in G. A. A., horse racing and a couple of venerated old buildings in the home town keep us in regular contact.
When last we chatted online on Thursday or Friday, my faraw ay friend urged that we touch base over the weekend with a view to yours truly getting a handle on the Melbourne Cup, taking place at Flemington on Monday night/Tuesday morning. However, hopefully understandably, once news of Graham’s illness completely consumed my mind, all thoughts of the race that stops a nation were stopped from entering the calculation station between these shoulders.
Until,that is, about an hour and a half before the scheduled off time of the race. By which time it was far too late to go about contacting Alan. However, at that stage, there would’ve been ample opportunity to get a punt on. What made angst about the whole situation even more acute was the fact that around the same time, in a half asleep haze, the idea of having a punt of Joseph O’Brien’s duo of representatives.
Alas, half sleepy became completely gone and so one’s next interaction with the 4am event was to discover via the RTE News app that O’Brien the younger had literally gone to the other end of world and plundered the winter harvest for the second time in three years. Again at the greatest expense to his father whose Tiger Moth followed his son’s charge home closest.
While there are a multiplicity of angles from which the outstanding achievement of the 27-year-old could be dissected, it will scarcely be an earth shattering shock to many that this corner again goes back to the contribution of the individual who will always be my favourite exponent of his craft with regard to Flat racing.
Jim Bolger has trained, owned and bred top horses for decades now, encompassing Flat racing, National Hunt and, if I’m not mistaken, a few top showjumpers as well. If memory serves me correctly, he was also the successful breeder of the winner of one of the English Classics this season before nabbing the final one of the year for himself in a training capacity courtesy of Mac Swiney in the Futurity Stakes at Doncaster.
That would represent a decent lifetime’s work for a lot of people, but, as has often been opined here previously and extensively so in the last couple of weeks, even all of the above would only relay a fraction of the story of the Master of Coolcullen. Consider the shaping of the careers such as Aidan O’Brien and Paul Carberry and Mick Fitzgerald and one Anthony Peter McCoy and then cast your mind to the bottom end of the world on Tuesday morning.
Twilight Payment. A 7-year-old gelded son of Teofilo out of an Oasis Dream mare. Not only is it somewhat unusual to see a horse still in training on the flat at that stage – though not as much so as previously – it is equally if not exceedingly more irregular to see a steed which operated at the highest echelons of its sphere leave its owner/trainer/breeder and go on to strive for indisputable greatness from another establishment.
He’s achieved that now. His new boss is well on the way to it.