30th May 2012
They were wrong when they said you should not meet your heroes. Lester was here this week and it was great to meet him. His picture is on our wall at home and the memories are clearer of The Minstrel than of many more recent events. The victory of Royal Academy at the Breeders Cup remains one of the greatest moments in sport for me, capturing the brilliance of MV O’Brien and the supremacy of L Piggott. Over lunch, more of the talk was of the future and the hopes for Vow in the Oaks. We enjoy a sport which constantly promises bright future.
At a gathering of the Dublin Racing Club last week the group were a little less enthralled by the promise of the Classics in prospect. There was an element of boredom with the Ballydoyle domination and they were unable to embrace Camelot as a hero just yet. It is a great name, by the way, and a tip just as the name Frankel was a tip. The Tipperary knights missed out on the Irish 1000 Guineas, though they happen to have the compensation of standing the sire of the winner! What is seldom is wonderful. The nearly 200 Group 1’s for AP O’Brien may lack for “seldomness” but ought to be cause for celebration, not ennui. Schumacher was dominant and celebrated, McCoy likewise, Federer, Redgrave, Kilkenny hurlers, Manchester United, New Zealand rugby – domination is a common occurrence in sport. If you just want a random spinning wheel then you belong in Vegas. Instead we have something in which the various inches count for almost everything.
We were also visited last week by a senior member of the Chinese government. There is great hope for a new frontier in the bloodstock world, though it involves overcoming many obstacles. We have very deep cultural roots connecting us to the horse and the value of this is really obvious when you see the opposite situation. The enormous urban developments disconnect millions of people from what is a rural pastime in origin. For so many, a horse is as exotic as an elephant is to us.