A retired local farm worker, long since departed to the calving pens up yonder, once told my father “Don’t let anyone ever tell you about the good old days, the good days are now”. Keeping in mind that this would’ve been in the late 1970s or early ’80s anyone who had done a decade or more in the cattle business around that time would understand.
My grandfather, Patsy Geoghegan, was one of them. A drover as they were then called. Their job, as well as working the land with horses and hand tools, also included rounding cattle up and driving them to the markets into what is now Docklands in Dublin.
Just to clarify, when I say drive, I do not mean with a jeep and trailer or anything like the big tractor-drawn livestock trailers that abound nowadays. Oh no, I mean they drove the cattle on foot, in this case from Leixlip, all the way for the boat. To the non-agriculturally initiated, in this case, ‘driving’ meant rounding up an entire herd of cattle and march behind them – doubling back to pick up the stragglers/missing and guiding them from their departure point to the destination. After doing their days work. I know ‘Spud’ told a story of arriving back to the yard at 5.30pm, unyoking a plough from two horses, going in for his dinner and then back out to round up stock circa 9.30pm. All for the grand total of £5 a night.
All of the above was brought by a race result in Tramore today. Allow me to explain. Seeing a Stephen ‘Sonny’ Carey-trained, Peterjon Carberry-ridden winner brought me back to my own version of the good old days. In this case, relating to horse racing. Specifically, back to when I interviewed Noel Meade and almost exclusively punted on his horses, ridden by Paul Carberry. In time, of course, gambles were had and landed on steeds with Philip, Nina and Peterjon atop. Whether it was Paul on, well, anything, Philip on Sublimity, Nina on anything and everything or the kid on Peak Raider for his late, great dad Tommy.
Ironically, no, Carberry-the-younger’s first success since returning from travels which encompassed Nicky Henderson’s yard in Lambourn and his brother Philip and sister-in-law Louisa’s burgeoning operation in France. A 14/1 success and a breakthrough one for the trainer and, to a certain extent, the jockey too.
‘Sonny’ Carey was a fine rider who enjoyed a relatively successful career in the saddle. Chiefly due to his association with the Arthur Moore yard. So there was something very fitting in the fact that his first ‘track’ winner came out of Arthur’s yard, part of which he has rented. Not to mention the fact that he had, of course, his old boss’s nephew doing the steering.
Winners have been been flowing from the premises of A. L. T. Moore again. Trained by both himself and his tenant. For this observer/punter/fan, it was a bit like Back To The Future seeing a Carberry boot home a winner again. Classics are timeless!