IT has been a dramatic week for racing: a gripping Cheltenham Festival, broken arms legs and elbows for jockeys, a Gold Cup for the ages and, of course, the controversy surrounding Ruby Walsh’s comments that horses are “replaceable”.
I’m going to start with that because I’m with Ruby when he says that the death of an animal and a human are not the same.
Ruby was referring to the loss of Our Conor in the Champion Hurdle. It was sad. No one wants to see that happen. But he made the point that horses are animals and humans are humans — the death of your dog is not the same as the death of a family member.
I’d like to ask a lot of people who are offended by this do they wear leather shoes? Do they eat meat? If so, how do they think the meat finds its way to their plate?
Sit in any restaurant any night of the week and you will see good meat being left and then thrown out. An animal had to die to create that waste.
What we are talking about is double standards. If all those doing the shouting about cruelty to animals were strict vegans, then their argument may carry some force.
But Ruby said something that was obvious, which might have come across as a bit cold and he is public enemy number one. Is his analogy correct however? Yes, I believe so.
Elevating an animal to the level of a human will never be right in my eyes.
Outside that controversy, it was a remarkable Festival underscored by Lord Windermere’s Gold Cup victory. I rode Lord Windermere in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury this season and while I felt there’d be potential on better ground, I didn’t expect he’d win the Gold Cup.
The steward’s enquiry added more drama and I did feel David Casey and connections with On His Own were unlucky.
That horse ran a hell of a race but the ride Davy Russell gave Lord Windermere won him the race. It was a remarkable display of horsemanship and amazing to see a horse hunted along like that in such a big race and then win.
I had a mixed week.
I felt a bit hard done by to not get the shout on Hawk High for Tim Vaughan in the Fred Winter. I’ve ridden and won on this horse and felt my loyalty might have been repaid, so I was sick when he won.
A Cheltenham win means a lot to a jockey.
A couple of days later I was back in business when Silver Dragon won for Tony Coyle in Uttoxeter. I love this horse. He spends his days in the stable with a cock and a hen for company which taking turns to ride around on his back. Seriously!
I said to Tony, I hope I’m not getting jocked-off for a hen these days, am I?