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Giant Strides
27 Apr 11 09:41
Date Joined: 03 Aug 08
| Topic/replies: 3,237 | Blogger: Giant Strides's blog

I`ve been meaning to start this thread for ages but now seems an appropriate moment.
I lived only 2 miles away but knew little of racing back when it reopened in the 80`s. However I do remember passing the dilapidated stands, the stewards viewing post and the big bank towards the top of the course.
The fact they ran behind the stand afterwards was so authentic, as was the angle of the stands obviously for viewing purposes.
I remember my friends father coming back from there one day with a racecard that had Heinz on the front. I think that was the current Phoenix stakes if I`m not mistaken. Was the straight 5 or 6 f long?
There was another video on You Tube of Indian Skimmers win there but I can`t find it anymore. From what I remember the camera angle appeared different. Did they always run right handed or did they ever change that and run the other way around? I can`t find any other footage of the place.
Did it deserve to fail or was it a travesty and what were the circumstances surrounding its demise?
Anybody I`ve ever spoken to about only had good things to say.
There are many wise old men of the turf who post here and I`d love it if you could share your memories of what to me is a tangible yet mystical sporting arena of yesteryear.
Pause Switch to Standard View Phoenix Park Racecourse
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Report Giant Strides April 27, 2011 6:17 PM BST
No problem punch.
I don`t recognise the first few of those horses animals tbh observirirl.
Am I right in thinking Nijinsky won on debut there? Anybody see any other giants of the turf win/lose there?
I remember hearing of the Cartier Million mp. Was it a 2yo sales race?
Report soapp April 27, 2011 6:26 PM BST
Marvellous memories there lads.
I had been going to the Park from the mid 70's till it closed.

1) Mick Connolly had many winners there.

2) M V O'Brien used to start to bring his 2 yr olds out at the Horse Show meeting. From then on M V would have 3/4 winners there or the Curragh nearly every meeing through to early October. No Claimers, Auction maidens in those days. Much classier racing in those days.

3) I used to watch the races from the Open stand where the horses used to return after pulling up having come behind the stands. At least there one had a side on view and relied on the commentator to tell us what got up. One would hear the jockeys discuss the race when coming in. Poor Cash would often be told there, be ready for another barrage of abuse!

4) Those Wednesday meetings were great alright.

5) The Rank Cup was the only hurdle race run on the track.  That was some bumper that was mentioned earlier. I think General Idea won it that day.
Report observerirl April 27, 2011 7:13 PM BST
soapp I'm sure we could reminisce all night and some about the Park. I recall Homer Scott/Liam Marks/Lorcan Wyer bringing off a monumental gamble in that Champion Bumper one year, maybe Omerta or Canute EXpress backed from 4/1 to evens.
Report wildmanfromborneo April 27, 2011 8:29 PM BST
Canute Express.Nijinski only ever ran at the Curragh in Ireland.
GiantStrides..Not guilty and who is the other D7 giant.
Report Cupwinkcook April 27, 2011 9:02 PM BST
Moved to the area in '94. The End niteclub was going at the time, never went myself. Then it burned down. Rumour was it was an insurance job.
Report Anaglogs Daughter April 27, 2011 9:14 PM BST
Baldoyle Derby, Phoenix Park Races  Chasing at Mullingar and many more defunct meetings:
Report Giant Strides April 27, 2011 10:11 PM BST
The Bohemians of course wmfb.
Thanks AD. A bit older than I was hoping for though!
The End nightclub! There`s a blast from the past Cwc. Are you sure you didn`t go? Laugh
I knew you would have some stories to share soapp. Good on you.
Report huddys April 27, 2011 10:16 PM BST
only lived 10 minute walk from the track,use to go after school on them sunny wed evening,shame that 90% of the track is over grown now
Report wildmanfromborneo April 27, 2011 10:37 PM BST
Two of the saddest sights i have seen racing were at the Phoenix Park.The first was a horse called If The Cap Fits fatally impaling himself on a running rail in the early seventies,the second was at the last meeting there in 1990 it was Des Fox vacant stall,he had been murdered the week previously on his way to the Curragh.I bet with him for years and to me he was the greatest ever Irish Bookmaker,fearless,polite and a great loser as well as winner.I think the reason the stall was put up was to enable people to settle their accounts,i would doubt if it was successful.
Report 3winnersandasecond April 27, 2011 10:40 PM BST
Spent many an enjoyable evening there;
The ones that always spring to mind are the winners...
Two in particular were Kiss the Bride trained by Willie Fennin (of Athy Spirit fame) and ridden by a young 7lb claimer JF Egan and having had a poor night's punting I threw a few bob on Ted Curtin's in photofinsh to the bumper (was it sponsored by Merc?). I got 10/1 on the photo with Joe Donnelly on a horse which was an SP odds on shot. Cant recall name of the nag (thought, incorrectly, it was Youpon). Anyone got the name?

Towards the end there was talk of money laundering in the ring and I seem to recall one occasion when the launderers got their fingers burnt on an odds-on shot. They were perhaps unlucky as the horse that got beaten (finished second) was Topanoora....
Report wildmanfromborneo April 27, 2011 10:47 PM BST
Mercedes were the sponsor of the bumper and i think you are right about Youpon but doubt if he was odds on.
Report celticboy April 28, 2011 10:02 AM BST
The Iliad was the horse that won the bumper.
Report punchestown April 28, 2011 10:59 AM BST
Two of the saddest sights i have seen racing were at the Phoenix Park.The first was a horse called If The Cap Fits fatally impaling himself on a running rail in the early seventies

I was at that meeting,the horse crashed into where the running rails meet at the winning post as they were running anticlockwise for that race,if I'm not mistaken Christy Roche was on board.John'Oxx's father trained a flying filly called Annacloy back then and RF Parnell (Buster's) son David was tragically killed in a car crash.

Remember the Tote tickets back then,and waiting for the blackboard to go up in the window to get the dividends after the race Laugh.
Report MJK April 28, 2011 11:36 AM BST
Wildman/Punch I remember that sad evening but glad you guys cleared up things about it as my recollection was different. I thought it was late 70s, the horse was called Keep Straight and it happened when he was going down to the start! Just shows your mind plays tricks when you're a kid!
Report wildmanfromborneo April 28, 2011 11:42 AM BST
Christy Roche was the rider of If The Cap Fits,named after a satirical T.V. programme starring Niall Tobin.
David Parnell was killed much later, late eighties, he was walking out with Tracey Piggott and was killed going to work in a car accident.
Anaglogs Daughter....As the forums archivist could you put up a list of the Mercedes bumper Winners if possible,Celticboy correctly named The Iliad as a winner one i had completely forgotten about so would love to have my memory jogged.
Report wildmanfromborneo April 28, 2011 11:45 AM BST
MJK...If The Cap Fits was 73 or 74 but what you describe could have happened also.
Report punchestown April 28, 2011 1:33 PM BST
MJK,that definitely happened to the horse called Keep Straight and that was the one I attended and not the If The Cap Fits one.It was in the race and after they came out from behind the stands just after the race started and right in front of the crowd and I remember now thinking at the time how ironic that name was for the horse (jockey was unhurt).

Paul Jarman,George McGrath,John Corr,TP Burns,Paddy Sullivan,Johnny Roe are some more names coming back to mind.
Report observerirl April 28, 2011 2:29 PM BST
celticboy spot on fair play to your memory. Anybody remember the horse that Roche for the O'Malleys, Artic Lord 11/4 fav coming to win his race and veering off course when he was a hit by a bird, a seagull I believe, unless my mind is totally gone!!
Report MJK April 28, 2011 4:01 PM BST
Thanks for that Punch, at least I wasn't imagining it! Soapp, did Christy Roche ride a lot of the Connolly's? Fairly sure he rode a horse there a lot for him called Tabloid over sprint distances. Speaking of sprints, I know Committed held the record for the quickest 5F there at one time, not sure if it was ever beaten.
Report JayTrumpOldTomDubbl April 28, 2011 7:22 PM BST
I was there a few times and it was a magic place....had a great buzz...twas like 'strawberry fields forever'..also was a real sun spot (almost typed sin spot)..used to be real warm there at the evening meetings...George McGrath rode quite a few winners there and I remember a young Joanna Morgan win a few races there ....she was a really strong in a finish   and very pretty too..on mature reflection it was a sin spot ..yeah without a doubt loadza sins committed there
Report celticboy April 28, 2011 10:42 PM BST
A monumental disgrace and the biggest travesty of justice to Irish sports followers was the fact that this fabulous resource, in the heart of a major city was allowed to close.

I remember well those balmy Summer Wednesdays in the eighties  …  a gang of maybe 10 or 15 of us would depart from the 108 Pub in Rathgar (later of Rathgar Beau fame)   … packed into a couple of cars  -  and maybe a Hiace van  ..  destination:  The Park.

Might have had 4 or 5 pints before we even left …

The sun always shone in The Park  …  the jazz band playing as you walked in  ..  Sangster arriving in a helicopter - parked down the road from our Hiace  ..   Kitty O Shea’s Baked Potatoes  …

Our lads savouring the sight of some impeccably bred leggy fillies  ..  and occasionally they looked at the four-legged ones too …

Robbie Connolly in green and red colours getting up in a 5 furlong sprint  ..  Terry Rogers with a face that would stop a clock  -  Sean Graham .. A Gentleman  …

Mad Jack betting on those impossible photo finishes  …

The bar during and afterwards  ..  sometimes the Halfway House for a session  …  and always , incredibly, somehow managed to navigate the convoy back to the 108 before closing  … Great Days …
Report wildmanfromborneo April 29, 2011 11:43 AM BST
Great description Celticboy.I also totally agree with the first line of your post.The year The Park closed it had the second highest attendances in Ireland,it was the second biggest contributer financially to the Racing Board via betting tax,the only course ahead of it was Galway.The people i blame for the closure were the owners,Vincent OBrien Robert Sangster and John Magnier and our corrupt planning authorities.The Racing Board approached the owners to buy it hoping for a concession because they were keeping it as a Racecourse,it was a chance for the trio to give something back,no highest bidder only.At the time most people thought they would not be allowed build on The Phoenix Park but the builders knew different because all the planners were in their pocket.This is one of the incidences where corruption damaged our country and way of life.
Report observerirl April 29, 2011 12:06 PM BST
wmfb, you have an encyclopaedic knowledge of racing do you recall if Denis Brosnan had any connection with the ownership or sale of the Park? I seem to recall that he had but would by no means be certain.
Report Tony Fenton April 29, 2011 12:12 PM BST
Very good thread. I remember playing hurling in the park with the noise of the Cartier Million meeting going on in the background.

Terrible waste of a good resource.
Report mrcombustible April 29, 2011 1:56 PM BST
Used to go there a lot in the seventies and eighties, the jazz band was wonderful entertainment. Saw  Oliver Reed dancing on a table after racing one Saturday. Michael Kauntze  married to Tom Dreaper's daughter used have lots of runners. Remember Ballad Rock making his debut one midweek evening,went off at 4/7, everyone had heard about him. He was the last decent horse the McGrath's trained. The half way house was a perfect place to finish off the evening
Report onehundredK April 29, 2011 5:24 PM BST
used to bunk off college on a regular basis to go there in the 80's......someone else hit on it but i think my interest in flat racing started to wane with its closure........evening meetings, sun shining, beers.........loved the place to bits and flat racing never the same in Ireland since its closure:(
Report Kelly April 30, 2011 1:58 AM BST
Went to nearly every meeting when I lived in Dublin ( early/mid sixties ) .Names I remember were Charlie Weld , Bertie Kerr , Mick OToole ( although I think he was still at the grus at that stage --Paul Hennessey not the first to go that route ! ), Seamus NcGrath , as well as the inevitable O'Brien and Predergast presence .

Jockeys who rode the track well were Johnnie Roe , George McGrath  , also remember Buster Parnell , Pat Glennon , Cash  , although not all at that time .  Paddy Prendergast had an Aussie riding for him some time around then , but need reminding of his name . Ron Hutchinson obviously . Think Bill Williamson also rode a bit there for a short time . Lester made an occasional sortie .

Saw Bustino and Grundy there that scorching Saturday afternoon ( on the TV ) . But that was the seventies .

Always won money there , dont know how the bookies made a profit .

Rank Cup hurdle and bumper races went round behind the stands , as did the horses finishing the sprints etc .

Originally there were manual tote machines that took half crowns , like fruit machines .

Many memories there , and my wife loved going there too , fashion and good craic .

Its demise took something out of the metropolitan area .
Report punchestown April 30, 2011 4:03 AM BST
Kelly,was that jockey Paul Jarman?
Report valjean April 30, 2011 8:45 AM BST
Kelly was it Wayne Harris? (was thinking Quinton but he was with Oxx. Now training in Sydney.)

Funny you mentioned Prendergast. I remember Darkie was pally with TJ Smith and his daughter Gai Waterhouse came over and stayed at Darkies way back in the day. Bit of an Autralian connection

Also remember hearing something about the photo finishes there. Buggered if I can remember.

Had my worst ever day punting there so not so happy memories for me. If I didnt go racing there though I could go through the card.
Memory is slipping but did The Caretaker win his Cartier there? Remember we were all over that horse for weeks before hand and I didn't go to the race and I think the reason was it was at the park and didnt want to sink the bets.

Phonsie's daughter worked there and started the Lily o'Brien chocolate empire from there as well
Report wildmanfromborneo April 30, 2011 11:35 AM BST
Best Australian jockey i ever saw was Garnie Bougoure,anyone else remember him.
Report Kelly April 30, 2011 11:59 AM BST
Yes remember Bougoure .  But my lineup for Aussie jockeys that we saw regularly was
Bill Williamson

Away from the Aussies , the enigma was Cash .  Brilliant in his native soil , but everything he touched here in Europe  seemed to turn to stone .  He took some awful lambasting here on course and off course for his time with Vincent . And a lot of it associated with the Park .
Report MJK April 30, 2011 12:49 PM BST
Was Daryl McHargue(spelling prob wrong) the jockey you're thinking about Valjean?
Report punchestown April 30, 2011 1:46 PM BST
Problem with Cash was when it came to the business end of a race Charlton Heston in his role at the end of "El Cid" (strapped upright & dead to his horse) would appear to have been more animated -and that didn't/doesn't sit well with us here.
Report workrider April 30, 2011 3:25 PM BST
hello lads just back from the uk ..delighted to see this thread ...some great memories from that magical place...remember christy bringing me to the park one sat as darkie fancied one he was riding , me him and ned tynon owner of the leinster pub in kildare town set off for the park..darkie had been having a hit or miss sort of season with his 2yos ..he'd told me he really fancied this one it was called al bourak ..i was sitting in the car with he lads and ned was asking christy if darkies was fancied ,  christy been the diplomat that he is told him it was working well but he he wasen't sure if today was its day ...i sat there saying nothing ...the horse opened 5/2 and went all the way out to 8/1 and won by 4 lenths.....darkie was livid as he'd backed a horse of o'briens called princess bonita in the yes it was not fancied ...there was dark murmurings all the way back to kildare ...all sorts of implications as you can imagine ..i sat there having a little chuckle to myself having bagged an 8/1 winner ...oh happy days
Report valjean April 30, 2011 3:39 PM BST
@mkj no thinking of harris was at a night for him 3 yrs ago.brought back a lot of memories.

@wmob no where near the best aussie jockey imho. no disrepect to you but he was'nt near - you did'nt ride for tj or bc you were not near the top. And the best that rode was for tj at work but he never rode track believe it or not. That man was unbelievable and that is from the top

@any one re:cash - monjeu??????????
Report punchestown April 30, 2011 4:25 PM BST
Montjeu was a horse that did everything on the bridle,anything that needed a "ride" would never suit Cash's quiet style,it's a game of opinions I suppose Grin
Report valjean April 30, 2011 4:34 PM BST
and that is the beauty of the game
Report MJK April 30, 2011 5:24 PM BST
Think it was around late 80s but I remember a marquee around near the Tote windows where Harp were doing a promotion and if you had a free coupon you got free pints of Harp. Needless to say it got to the stage where the place was littered with these coupons and you could have as many pints as you liked. Never drank a pint of Harp since.
Report workrider April 30, 2011 6:00 PM BST
the world record was beaten by a horse of mick o'tooles called miami something or other one sat at pp.. first time i ever took my missus racing and she gets to see a world record ....
Report workrider April 30, 2011 6:01 PM BST
sorry it was for either 5 or 6 furs ....
Report mrcombustible April 30, 2011 8:24 PM BST
Miami Springs
Report workrider April 30, 2011 10:17 PM BST
well done thats the one ...
Report Giant Strides May 1, 2011 9:40 AM BST
Anyone recognize themselves here!?
Report The Gotchee December 5, 2013 10:20 PM GMT
I was searching for something and stumbled across this old thread. It brings back a flood of memories.
I remember The Caretaker winning the Cartier Million, the brainchild of Jonathan Irwin. I also remember Cash Asmussen getting a lot of stick. I was there the day he got beaten on a Vincent O'Brien short priced 2 year old. When he came back into the parade ring a handful of disgruntled punters started to sing "California,here I come, right back where I started from" Great days and great fun. It was a most beautiful race course with a unique atmosphere.
Report workrider December 5, 2013 10:32 PM GMT
Had my last runner there The Gotchee , a lovely place , old world , not great to watch racing in all honesty , but some great times to be had , a lovely parade ring , usually full of beautiful ladies during the summer , ah the nostalgia is flooding back...
Report J.R.Hartley December 5, 2013 10:46 PM GMT
Drove though the Park today as it happens......couldn't help but to look where the track was....until the wife remarked that i was was vering across the road and did i know that there was a Garda car behind me........Scared
Report The Gotchee December 5, 2013 10:48 PM GMT
workrider, the finishing post was brutal but I suppose that was part of the appeal of the place. I loved going there and there was a lot of quality racing. The Champion Stakes and the Heinz or the 1500 as it use to be known were run there. I'm not sure why it was called the 1500? Anyway, I loved the place. The consortium that sold it and HRI should hang their heads in shame.Sad
Report kavvie December 5, 2013 10:59 PM GMT
agree gotchee...and also tralee.let go to rack and ruin and then closed down.. a well appointed racetrack..
Report las/palmas December 6, 2013 12:17 AM GMT
Great Thread loved those Wednesday nights. had one great touch  on a horse call Elementary Trained by the master jim  bolger .
Report superdub December 6, 2013 12:35 AM GMT
great thread I remember Darkie had some great 2yos Sixpence The Pie King Skindles Hotel Mick Connolly also had a great strike rate at the Park Mrs Biddle Liam Ward Iremember Joe Canty and Tony Dardis riding their last winners there on the same WEDs night Funny I can remember those things and cant remember what happened last week Many thanks Good Night
Report callitasucit December 6, 2013 1:22 AM GMT
Remember The Caretaker winning. My father was going on about it for two weeks or more beforehand. I don't know how much he had on, but when she hit the front, he nearly hit the roof!! We had a good christmas that year! I think I was about 10 at the time, so probably about 1989 or 90? Used to get the train to Ashtown in the latter years of racing there and walk over. Loved the place.
Report Kelly December 6, 2013 2:35 AM GMT
One of my uncles friends owned a horse called Che Bella , trained by Charlie Weld . We were at the meeting , my uncle was talking to the owner , not a word from him reference whether the horse was fancied , fit or expected . Luckily my uncle and I had independent minds , backed it anyway , hosed up , 7/1 .  Not sure my uncle ever spoke civilly to that friend again ( our stakes were modest in the circumstances ) .

The Park had an atmosphere of its own . And the fact that most of the horses running there were decent animals made it invariably enjoyable .
Report yummy December 6, 2013 10:11 AM GMT
Whatever about reminiscing about the Phoenix Park this thread just shows how much the Irish Soorts forum has alos become delapidated.
Some high quality informative and knowledgable posters have been pushed aside by those who know so much more.
Report workrider December 6, 2013 12:26 PM GMT
The Gotchee , I think the reason it was called the 1500 was because of the acreage of the was thought the total amount of acre's was about 1500 hence  the name ..PIANISSIMO a real flyer trained by Clem    Magniar won it one year and i thought she was one of the fastest horses i'd ever seen . When i was a student in the INS low and behold who arrived only herself to visit Tudor Music or Whistling  Wind i'm not sure which .Some wonderful jockeys who rode the park well included George McGrath , Johnny  Roe ,  Buster  Parnell ...As a kid i loved the long distance races when the horses went behind the main stand , i would run up those steps just to catch a glimpse as they thundered by...Magical...
Report Kelly December 6, 2013 12:58 PM GMT
Doubt the acreage thing , workrider .  Surely more likely it was the value of the stakes race . PP is the second largest public Park in Europe , all in  , could google it for size .

George McGrath initially was associated with Bertie Kerr as I recall .  Parnell was with the Weld stable .  Johnny Roe was stable jockey for Vincent for a while , rode the Park very well , unlike the Cash fellow who invariably drew a lot of adverse comment , although I think Vincents stable was not firing on all cylinders at that time .

Dont remember a lot of Anne Biddle horses at the Park , Liam Ward would have been riding those I suspect .  Always liked backing Seamus McGrath horses there over the years .

Lots of the maiden races were 2 or 3 horse races , effectively . Backing without one or 2 of them in a race made finding winners not too difficult , if you were prepared for short odds .
Report Kelly December 6, 2013 1:20 PM GMT
Nobody mentioned Fetherstonhaugh  ( ? ) , of the english Fanshawe variety --and some of their commentators complain about the pronunciations of the many Irish runners every day -- move over JP and more power to your elbow , particularly at Towcester ! .  Had some seriously good horses  , sprinters mainly as I recall . But it wasn't long term .
Report kavvie December 6, 2013 1:23 PM GMT
rem i was there one day with my father..i found a big blue tenner on the ground..i made he mistake of giving it to my father!!
Report Ozymandius December 6, 2013 1:31 PM GMT
I met JR Ewing there one day.
Report workrider December 6, 2013 6:13 PM GMT
One of Anne Biddles i remember was a horse called Toledo Steel reason i remember it was it looked so unlike a TB more of a rodeo horse , also remember seeing the the dam of TAP ON WOOD , CAT'O MOUNTAINE race there trained by John Oxxs father i think   ... She also  came to the INS to be covered by Tudor  Music ...My brothers mother in law used to fix G MC GRATHS trousers when he came to collect them he tell her such and such a horse would win , hardly ever did though....
Report The Gotchee December 6, 2013 6:40 PM GMT
Report Santry December 6, 2013 7:05 PM GMT
Vaguely remember going to the "outside" in the Park with my dad in the sixties . I think the "outside" stand was in the middle of the field ,side on opposite roughly the furlong marker. You barely saw the horses crossing the line from there and hadn't a clue in a close finish. Baldoyle used run the 1st 2y o race of the season and I think that moved to the Park when Baldoyle closed.
Good memories reading lads talking about the parade ring and the Bandstand.
Report workrider December 6, 2013 7:14 PM GMT
Brilliant The Gotchee , the old mock Tudor stand looked great , I never realized it was that old ...
Report The Gotchee December 6, 2013 8:26 PM GMT
workrider, did you get a glimpse of yourself at the Parade Ring? Grin
Report mrcombustible December 6, 2013 9:09 PM GMT
1500 was the value of the race when it was run.

Anyone remember a very well named horse running often in the park called Bunkered by Entanglement out of Golf Ball. Think Bertie Kerr trained it and Buster Parnell rode it, sometime in the 70s.

Joanna Morgan was attached to the Seamus McGrath Stable at Glencairn, a tall ginger guy called Greg Magee was then his assistant trainer. Pat Eddery used to have an association with the stable, can't remember but it may have been where he first rode. McGrath won the Irish Leger when it was a proper classic confined to 3yos with a horse that had got beaten at Bellewstown earlier in the seson, can't remember the name but it was by Le Levenstall. Bellewstown only raced once a year back then, a 2 day midweek afternoon meeting at end of June, they also had a Chase course.

Kelly I remember Fetherstonhaugh, think he trained at the Curragh, he had a brother who was a Solicitor in Mountmellick,Fetherstonhaugh and Carter
Report el gato December 6, 2013 9:31 PM GMT
Gem of a place, best evening meetings ever....
Report workrider December 6, 2013 10:54 PM GMT
MRcombustible , i remember backing that horse , a chesnut if i remember correctly  , wonderfully named , yes Kerr trained it and Parnell rode it ...The Gotchee , you cheeky begger ....
Report The Gotchee December 6, 2013 11:35 PM GMT

Report huddys December 7, 2013 6:42 AM GMT
Really enjoyable read lads,loved going racing there,was only 10 minutes walk away from my mams house,only the brave would bet on the photo finish betting back in the good old days,
Report workrider December 7, 2013 11:32 AM GMT
What was remarkable about those 2 races was they changed the configuration of the course in the space of 4 years...
Report Giant Strides December 15, 2013 11:17 PM GMT
That's the video I was referring to in my original post The Gotchee.
So I wasn't imagining the different configuration after all!
Report The Gotchee December 15, 2013 11:32 PM GMT
Fair play to you GS, this is a great thread.
Report silvergreaser December 15, 2013 11:51 PM GMT
Great videos gotchee,

I was never at the Phoenix Park racecourse, well considering it was open in my teen years when I went racing to virtually every Curragh, Punchestown and Naas meeting, I wasn't driving at that time, so we basically thumbed a lift to Naas and Punchestown on the Bridge in Newbridge, the days before the motorways, you were guaranteed a lift.

The price of the train ticket to Dublin in those days even though it was only less than a half hour train journey was dearer than it is today if you take inflation into account.

But I do remember backing a horse called Digamist to win the Phoenix stakes, one of Abdullahs and Eddery, if they had the whip rules they have today Pat would've got 6 months, the proverbial lifted home would be an understatement.
Report Arklearkle December 16, 2013 2:05 AM GMT
Silver Silver you are slipping you are now admitting THE JOCKEY made a difference and a big difference at that!!!!
Report Arklearkle December 16, 2013 2:05 AM GMT
Silver Silver you are slipping you are now admitting THE JOCKEY made a difference and a big difference at that!!!!
Report silvergreaser December 16, 2013 7:36 AM GMT
Arkle I have said before on the rare occasion a jockey can make a difference but so rare is it that its pointless factoring in the jockey they're all professionals anyway well able to steer horses in the right direction, then what usually happens the horse with the most ability will invariably win.
Report redbait December 16, 2013 11:26 AM GMT
ANYWAY, away from the repetitive bickering that is spoiling a very good thread.

I am a country man and wouldn't be too familiar with the site of the old Phoenix Park, but I was looking on Google Earth there and most of what was the track still seems to be green? It seems the old parade ring/stands and the loop around the back of that stands is pretty much all that was built on? So sad that such an asset was sold by racing men.

What about Baldoyle? Does anyone have memories of there? Looking at Google Earth again, the vast majority of the old track seems to be there, albeit with minor roads running through it.
Report Kelly December 16, 2013 12:10 PM GMT
Remember it well , redbait . Drove past it a few times last week , wall still there , but well bricked up so no view possible from the car . Didn't look as cold as it used to be , maybe thermal insulation clothes etc have improved dramatically .

New Years Day there used to be a decent meeting , but with the wind whipping in it was parky .  17th March used to be the first flat meeting of the season , started there normally . Think you could see the 5 furlong start from the road as you drove past then . Plus they used to have mile and a half hurdle races , mainly for younger horses .  Paddy Powell used to be one of the jockeys I took a second look at then , long time ago though .
Report Arklearkle December 16, 2013 12:35 PM GMT
Baldoyle was a tight track but overall the place had real character and was a great place especially for a summers evening meeting. Shame it was closed. Never liked the Park tbh. From the stands you never knew whether your horse had won or not. Can understand why people liked it and was very accessible being so near the city centre. A pity both were closed.
Report redbait December 16, 2013 1:27 PM GMT
What was the reason for Baldoyle closing, lads?
Report Kelly December 16, 2013 1:31 PM GMT
Presumably developers . Think some housing association or the like might have been involved .  But I am a long way away so not into FF and the like politics and friends ( which it would have been then ) .
Report workrider December 16, 2013 7:16 PM GMT
Developers is correct Kelly , but there was a huge problem can for years it lay vacant , just like PP did , one of the fastest 5 fur courses in Ireland , they came down that straight at a rapid rate of knots , I remember going into the cheap side as a kid once , that was over on the far side , Shamie Farrell i think was one of the bookies that day R.I.P..Very popular with all the big trainers of the time , huge crowds , what a loss ....
Report superdub December 16, 2013 7:51 PM GMT
I think the reason it closed was Gainsford St Lawrence who was a director of the Metropolitan Race Company Ltd as was Fred Clarke they were both instremental in the sale St lawrence wanted to develop the hotel and golf course at Deer Park in Howth and Clarke wanted the Bank holiday fixtures for Leopadrstown so Baldoyle was sold the last horse racing there was the Louth Hunt point to point A Michael Hurley published a history of the racecourse  some years ago
Report mrcombustible December 16, 2013 9:14 PM GMT
My guess is that Baldoyle closed circa 1971.
Saw Captain Christy win a hurdle race with his then owner the galloping Major on board.
Gay Buccaneer was a course specialist on the 3m chase course, trained by Bunny Cox in Dundal and ridden by Pat Black from Bettystown
Report The Gotchee December 16, 2013 9:40 PM GMT
Both Flyingbolt and Arkle won at Baldoyle.

Isn't this an amazing statement.
Barry Brogan, who was Dreaper's assistant and stable amateur during the 1965-1966 season and had ridden both Arkle and Flyingbolt in their work. In his autobiography he says:
"In my view Flyingbolt was probably the best horse I ever rode - even better than Arkle. I honestly believe that he would have beaten Arkle in the 1966 Gold Cup if Tom Dreaper had allowed him to run."
In a subsequent interview with the Racing Post in December 2008, more than 25 years after the publication of his autobiography, he re-affirmed his comments when he said, "For all Arkle's brilliance, I felt Flyingbolt was the better horse. If Pat Taaffe was alive, he'd tell you the same."
Report Kelly December 16, 2013 11:05 PM GMT
Firmly 1 and 2 in my all time list  , but I would have Arkle in front of Flyingbolt  , slightly .   That is astonishing given they were in the same stable at the same time . Never going to meet .

Riding horses at home is different from when they are on course .  I presume the reason for Brogan saying that was the feel he got when riding work , Flyingbolt was probably a better mover and would have responded quicker to a call for acceleration . But Arkle was supreme in a race , guess thats where all his best performances were reserved for . Its a good debate , and I backed both of them nearly every time they ran, so have equally fond memories of both .

Had forgotten that Flyingbolt won at Baldoyle ( assuming it's accurate , knew Arkle had ) .  Amazing that the 2 highest rated chasers ever won at a track rated  second or third division  by all accounts  , ( and treated accordingly by the powers that were ) .
Report The Gotchee December 16, 2013 11:31 PM GMT
Flyingbolt made his racecourse debut on 13 May 1963 in a flat race over 12 furlongs at Leopardstown. Starting at 20/1, he finished down the field. He was still immature and needed more time to fill into his massive frame so he was turned out into a field for the summer. His run at Leopardstown would turn out to be his only defeat for the next two and a half years.
He re-appeared at Navan on 9 October 1963 when winning a national hunt flat race by 7 lengths at odds of 8/11 in the hands of top amateur Alan Lillingston. Coincidentally, Arkle won his only ever flat race on the same card just half an hour earlier. After winning his next start on the flat at Leopardstown by 4 lengths with Liam McLoughlin in the saddle, Flyingbolt was switched to hurdles the following month, easily winning his maiden at the Leopardstown Christmas meeting where he was ridden in public for the first time by stable jockey Pat Taaffe who rode him in all of his jump races whilst in the care of Dreaper. He then won the Killester Hurdle at Baldoyle, followed by another facile success in the Scalp Hurdle at Leopardstown, as described by author and journalist, Ivor Herbert; "Flyingbolt, two years Arkle's junior, won the Scalp Hurdle in a canter. What made this astonishing was that the five-year-old was beating older experienced high-class hurdlers on worse terms than in a handicap. It was suddenly evident that Dreaper had not only Ireland's top three mile chaser, but, in the two years younger horse, the best novice hurdler either side of the Irish Sea." From there Flyingbolt headed to Cheltenham where he easily won the Gloucestershire Hurdle, consolidating his position as the top novice hurdler in Britain and Ireland. Later that same week, Arkle beat Mill House to win the first of his 3 consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cups.
Report The Gotchee December 16, 2013 11:46 PM GMT
Just checked the archives and I have established that Arkle was unplaced when he ran at Baldoyle, probably a bit too sharp for him?
Report punchestown December 17, 2013 1:21 PM GMT
Probably just giving him a quiet one Gotchee......Laugh
Report Arklearkle December 17, 2013 1:41 PM GMT
Prob there was a conspiracy ... where's Wildman.
Report Kelly December 17, 2013 1:55 PM GMT
Arkle's early forays partly showed up how difficult it is sometimes to know the worth of horses . On reflection Arkle was not a winner at Baldoyle , but I couldn't have told you Flyingbolt ever ran there either .

Given the economics of racing , Frankel would never have run at Catterick would he ? Different times too then .
Report wildmanfromborneo December 17, 2013 1:57 PM GMT
Arkle carried a low weight that day and was beaten out of sight,he really only came into his own when he went chasing.

It was noticeable that the handicapper was able to give Arkle a mark after one run over hurdles.

Barry Brogan had been a trainer for a short while but was Dreapers amateur during those halcyon days,he later went to England to ride and rode Flyingbolt when he too was trained in England,he liked to be controversial but there is no denying these were two great great horses.
Report Arklearkle December 17, 2013 2:20 PM GMT
I'm pretty certain Arkle won a hurdle race at Gowran - I had him backed and he started 9/2 (probably had a shilling on him - money was scarce then and I was just out of short pants). BB liked being controversial alright so would not be certain he believed it but there were some who did.
Report wildmanfromborneo December 17, 2013 2:26 PM GMT
Arkle loved Gowran ran there four times winning one handicap hurdle and three handicap chases.
Report Kelly December 17, 2013 4:47 PM GMT
I remember the first day Arkle won , at 20/1 . Dreaper stable had the fav in the race as I recall , up pops this one from nearly "below the line " , rush to displayed papers to see who trains it ..Dreaper . Mutterings not unlike some we see on here .  But Dreapers stable were not noted for being a gambling stable so it was not a big deal .  Subsequent events were though .  Little did we know .
Report The Gotchee December 17, 2013 9:18 PM GMT      

A documentary on Baldoyle Racecourse.
Report Kelly December 18, 2013 1:07 AM GMT
Might have a look if I can hit it , the gotchee , but later .
Report beatricegeorge April 17, 2014 5:35 PM BST
a bit late seeing this lads.
great days and a few stories.
anyone remember a horse called "Catch Up" a real horse for the course.
an episode of remington steel(pierce brosnan) filmed there during racing.
won a €5 on a horse called Enigma, asked chap with me to get 5 singles so i could give him a quid tip as you do and he came back and asked me did i want salt and vinegar on them.
Report workrider April 17, 2014 5:48 PM BST
Report Catch Me ifyoucan April 24, 2017 10:25 PM BST
ttt good read

28 Apr 11 13:33
Joined: 03 Apr 06 | Topic/replies: 4,347 | Blogger: punchestown's blog
MJK,that definitely happened to the horse called Keep Straight and that was the one I attended and not the If The Cap Fits one.It was in the race and after they came out from behind the stands just after the race started and right in front of the crowd and I remember now thinking at the time how ironic that name was for the horse (jockey was unhurt).

Paul Jarman,George McGrath,John Corr,TP Burns,Paddy Sullivan,Johnny Roe are some more names coming back to mind.
Report punchestown April 25, 2017 10:07 AM BST
Aye, RIP to Johnny,his often quiet style of riding (reminded me a bit of Cash Asmussen) sometimes drew ire from the punters but he had a way of getting the most out of horses without going ballistic with the stick.
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