Dan Kelly’s FFP – Week 9
Ah Listen, maybe he’s right
Obviously, it’s in Coolmore’s interest to hype up the next big thing that steps off the Ballydoyle production line, and with a page as black as Australia’s it wasn’t such a surprise to see them start singing from the roof tops in late last year, but it had a different ring to it this time around. Aidan was going out on a limb:
After a racecourse gallop in March, ‘He’s the second best horse we’ve ever had. Only the only horse better wasn’t a flat horse!’
Following his run in the Guineas, ‘I thought Camelot was the best horse we have had for the Derby but this horse is a step up. There is no point in beating around the bush, we have never had a horse like this. I am not trying to blow him up, just saying it as it is.’
Australia’s big day arrived in the Derby, ‘We said what we thought. Maybe it is best to say nothing, but we’ve always thought he was very special – the way he is bred makes him very special. The way he travelled through the race he must be very special.’
Coming into the Juddmonte following a break since his Irish Derby success, the talk was not only about Joseph’s weight, but Australia had put on a bit of weight on too; 20kg heavier than when last seen in the UK. However, a horse just about fit enough for a racecourse gallop, carrying a bit of condition, with a jockey doing the bare minimum was able to win doing just that, the bare minimum. But he wasn’t beating just anything; Eclipse winner, Hardwicke winner, Dante and French Derby winner, and if you thought the “racecourse gallop” comments were flippant, you only have to look at his interview with Stewart Machin post race to see it was anything but.
The reason why, possibly the second best horse he’s ever had for the Derby, Camelot. Back in 2012 his bid for the Triple Crown was thwarted by Mahmood Al Zarooni’s Encke, but his chance had possibly gone when running in the Irish Derby, something which Aidan alluded too when talking about Australia back in March; ‘Joseph says he hates soft ground. If you see the trainer running him on that, shout at him, I’m still getting the blame for running Camelot in the Derby here.’
He looked far more on edge here than at any point during Camelot’s Triple Crown bid. Considering what Coolmore would give for a Triple Crown winner in their stud book, that’s saying something.
When Ruby speaks, we should all listen
Ruby Walsh has been a great addition to the RUK team this season, and before the action got underway at York he took part in a live webchat. I asked him: Are there any other sportspeople/sports you watch to try and help your own improvement, whether physically or mentally?
Ruby Walsh: “I watch all sports and I am always trying to improve and learn from what you see or read. But I do believe that the horse is more the athlete than the jockey. Track and field athletics is all about pace and fractions, and that is what I try to replicate. The greatest race of the Olympics was Rushida’s 800m. His own pace setting enable the next six runners to run a faster time than the winner of the previous two Olympic Gold medals at that distance. Pace matters.”
A continuous improvement attitude isn’t a surprise from the best in the business that is Ruby Walsh, but the sooner fractions/sectionals times become the norm in British & Irish Racing the better so race fans can use hard data to dissect the who, what, where, when and why of a horse race.
Dan Kelly can be followed on Twitter here
Read last weeks FFP here – Lynch and the BHA
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