Derby dominance for O’brien and co.

One of the runners going to post at Epsom

Where better to start the first day of  Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations than at one of her favourite haunts the annual meting at Epsom of the World’s most famous and important horse race, The Derby. Literally hundreds of thousands of people turned out on a glorious day for racing and the place was decked out in red, white and blue and of course the union jack to commemorate the occasion. But getting down to the business of the racing itself what a couple of days it has been for Aiden O’brien and his all conquering Ballydoyle team. The main attraction The Derby itself was won by the classy Camelot. In a race that was made up of only 9 runners there was plenty of room for the horses to take their preferred position from an early stage and it was ran at a reasonable pace. 5 furlongs out one of O’Briens other horses, Astrology had taken the race up and looked to be running well being able to hold off Main Sequence and a host of other horses closing in. But in the final few furlongs Camelot sprouted wings and in a few strides easily brushed his stable mate aside in impressive fashion. He kept going clear and finally crossed the line a whopping 5 lengths ahead of the running-on Main Sequence who in turn pipped Astrology by another length. In doing so he prevented a 1-2 for O’brien who won his first English Derby for 10 years.

There were also some nice side stories to accompany the main prize. Firstly Aiden O’Brien ‘s son Joseph rode the winner home to become the first Father-Son/trainer-rider combination in the 233 year history of the race. There were fantastic scenes all round as his mother couldn’t contain her emotions at watching her son create such a piece of history. Secondly for one of the 4 main owners at the Ballydoyle stables, Derek Smith, it was his first Derby success after finishing runner-up in the 4 years previous and in winning reached the 100 mark as an owner in which the winning horse was carrying his colours. At Ballydoyle whatever owners name is first on the list will carry that owners colours for the race. A very softly spoken Aiden was full of admiration for his son’s achievement but as always included praise for every member of the Ballydoyle stud as he is so adamant for all to know it is always a group effort.

Camelot’s win topped off a wonderful weekend at the Derby meeting for O’Brien and co. having won all group 1 races on offer. St. Nicholas Abbey was as impressive in dismantling the field to win the Coronation cup. The day before that was another classic, The Oaks, and the first of the 3 big races of the weekend. Was (horse’s name) wasn’t as impressive as her male counterparts but nevertheless got the job done. Today’s Derby win was Aiden O’Briens and Ballydoyle’s 4th classic of the season from the 4 on offer adding the 1,000 Guineas and 2000 guineas to the Oaks and Derby And so it will be on to the St. Leger at Doncaster to try to complete the first classics clean sweep since the great Nijinsky in 1970. The bookies have her at 1/3 on to complete all five. Irish horse racing has been going through a golden age for the best part of 10 years constantly winning all the big races in both jumps and flat and they don’t look like stopping any time soon. It’s only 2 years ago that John Oxx’s Sea The Stars went into the history books and folklore winning the 2000 Guineas, The Derby and the arc’ treble something never done before and considered by many to be never repeated again. Fingers crossed Aiden and the team can complete the full house in September.


The green chutes of spring?

There’s been no hiding the fact the world is in a mess financially and stabley in the last 5 years or so and to most of us there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. It’s a subject that touches most if not all our hearts and being my first blog I couldn’t think of anything more suitable to dive straight into. I know it doesn’t seem too clean cut and picturesque so I’m hoping I can get some feed back ANY FEEDBACK! to let me know I’m going in the right direction. I like millions of other lost their jobs in the recession and have been stuck in a rut finding it hard to get out of. For a short time in early Spring last year, we were graced with the presence of  HM. The Queen and then President Obama of the United States (playing on his long lost heritage which stretched back to his 6th cousin). But hey it gave the country a boost.

Now I see it’s England’s turn to have the limelight shine upon them. After the most dramatic finishes ever to a football season, one that Martin Scorcese couldn’t dare dream of, all bad vibes were put to one side so the people the length and breadth of the land could forget about their worries and their strife. As if that wasn’t exciting enough Chelsea finally break their European hoodoo and win the Champion’s League again in dramatic fashion. The party continued. But know the 2 big events are on the horizon for the British public to enjoy. Young and old alike will undoubtedly savour the pomp and circumstance and pagintry that indeed only the British know how to put on. As an Irishman I can only imagine the sense of national pride and well-being that such an occasion will bring and only rightfully so. To be the ruler of one of the world’s most powerful nation’s for 60 years is an awesome achievement.

And this brings me on to the final and by far the most important occasion. The Olympics. For a nation to be given the responsibility to hold the games once is an honour but to be chosen 3 times is very special. England must be only buzzing at the moment with so many things to be timed to coincide with each other. Building the villages, which began 8 years ago to the tedious paperwork involved to ensure the smooth running of the World’s biggest sporting event. Not to mention the security which will be put in place and the intelligence required to give those in the know the heads up. And so to think of the millions upon millions of visitors making their way to England can only give the country a great financial boost not to mention the profile she will be given the world over, let’s all hope it goes off a success and helps water those seeds of change in order for them green chutes to finally start showing their heads. And to think all of this is about to happen and not a word has yet been spoken of an occasion happening in Poland and Ukraine (EURO 2012). But in the year that’s in it I think the football can go on the back burner for once, I say with a pinch of salt. No doubt every English Man, Woman and child will be cheering on their team as passionately as any of their Olympic heroes. But that said I personally hope Ireland can put a spanner in the works and give us all something to cheer about back home. So lets hope for all our sakes sports in general can be the catalyst for a feel good factor that’s been long awaited and overdue.