Big wins on the track, but big losses in the stands


Edward Brady

HE KNOWS No Fear became the biggest priced winner in Britain or Ireland since records began when scoring at 300/1 for trainer/owner Luke Comer and jockey Chris Hayes in the mile maiden at Leopardstown recently. The previous biggest winning SP was 250/1 when Equinoctial scored over jumps at Kelso in 1990.

It would be easy to bill the 300/1 shock as being trained and owned by a small trainer and owner, but Comer is one of the richest men in Ireland. But still, for all of the money, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee success and this was a good day for the operation, now managed by Jim Gorman.

In his first race, He Knows No Fear (above) fluffed his lines by missing the kick on his debut at Limerick. The colt was allowed to go off at 300/1 largely down to the fact that all the money was for Agitare, who he beat with a great run in the final furlong to beat him by a head. I’m sure he will be a much smaller price in his next race!

Rise of Ryan
A young and up-and-coming jockey is Gavin Ryan, who is with the Donnacha O’Brien stable. So far this season he’s had 30 winners and is sitting in fifth place in the Irish Jockey Championship and he’s still an apprentice so he’s definitely one to watch. If you had £1 on each of his rides in handicaps you would be showing a profit of £140—a great return.

Recently at Roscommon, he rode a horse called Vormir—who was 33/1 in the morning, but gambled in to 12/1 before the off—got up to win running on strongly in the final furlong, so if you’re having a punt keep a lookout for him when he’s riding. He’s got a great future as a jockey.

Not so good Galway
Well the Galway Festival has come and gone and obviously had no resemblance to previous years. It was all very subdued, with no crowds to shout home the winners with a pint of Guinness in your hand and the craic and camaraderie, which makes the Galway Races so good.

It’s the people who go that make the Galway Races so good, because without them it’s just not the same. Now this is obviously down to the Covid-19 restrictions so roll on next year when those are hopefully gone and a distant memory.

While the owners in the UK are allowed into the tracks to see their horses, owners in Ireland are not allowed into the tracks, they have to wait until September 14 to see if this will change, hopefully it will.

Trainers tussle
Hopefully things will be a bit better when the National Hunt racing gets up and running. Willie Mullins is the favourite at 1/5 to be Champion Trainer—that seems very skinny—while Gordon Elliott is 3/1. Who knows though while the Covid-19 pandemic is still with us.

Punchestown next year may not be the winning or losing of the Championship, which it has been in the past. As of now Mullins has already amassed €453,000, while Eilliott has amassed €287,000. Elliott has still to bring out his winter horses and most of his horses racing have been the summer types and hardly hit Galway this year, whereas Mullins banked more than €300,000 at the meeting. With Fairyhouse and Punchestown being cancelled, it could work out well for Elliott’s title challenge this season.