The Monday Yeeehaaa – Punchestown Festival, my fancy for the 2000 Guineas and Lester Piggott's Hall of Fame 'speech'
26th April 2021

THE jumps season is done and dusted. Or is it?

Sandown might have given us awards for all of those the Irish smashed up during the campaign, but of course this week Ireland is where it's all at with the fabulous Punchestown Festival.

So today's column will have a quick look at Punchestown, let you know why I think I know who will hack up in the 2000 Guineas on ITV Saturday and wonder at some incredible 'quotes', yeah right, from Lester Piggott.

Let's start with Punchestown, which I used to absolutely adore presenting at on the old Attheraces. Those end of day chats with Willie Mullins will be something I will always cherish.

I'm hoping, for a start, that Paul Townend is in action. If Rachael Blackmore is to become champion jockey she needs to beat Townend while he can ride, not while he's injured.

I totally understand people would still go crazy for Blackmore so be champion whether Townend is around or not. But that's not the point. It would be a hollow success.

Chacun Pour Soi was nothing like at his best at Cheltenham in a very poor Champion Chase.

I fully expect him to bounce back tomorrow in the Punchestown equivalent. Too much pace for Allaho.

And I'm all over Monkfish against Envoi Allen. Monkfish is a beast. He should be renamed Monkbeast.

Now, I'm also with Al Boum Photo against Minella Indo on Wednesday. The raider there is Clan des Obeaux.

He was a monster once again at Aintree. That is the case whatever he does here. Later in the week Flooring Porter will be hard to catch in the Stayers'.

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On the Flat, I'm all over Thunder Moon in the 2000 Guineas Saturday.

The more I look at the race, the more I feel the Dewhurst third will sprint clear of this lot for Joseph O'Brien and Declan McDonogh. The latter is deserving of this chance as a true enforcer.

Speaking of the Guineas, back in the day Lester Piggott didn't do badly in the race, and now he's in racing's Hall of Fame. If someone could have asked you who would be picking those going in this new world it would have taken you about a second to come up with those involved.

As always the same old faces. That said, fair play to them. Now I'm sure Lester didn't say…write what you like. In which case those in charge should be doing features with Lester right now.

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Just look at what they got out of the legend!

"It's an honour to become the first jockey – and the first person – to be inducted into the Qipco British Champions Series Hall of Fame and I'm truly delighted to receive this special medal," Lester apparently said. 

"I feel fortunate to have spent many brilliant years riding such incredible horses and I'm touched to see my story so well preserved through this initiative.

"The Hall of Fame is a terrific concept and something that racing has deserved for so many years. Our sport has such an incredible history and I hope that this provides an opportunity for many others to learn about it."

Piggott added: "It's only right that Frankel is the first horse to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He did everything so easily and was the best by far during his time. He is the one horse that I wish I could have ridden."

Well done Lester. Said all the right things. Let's have more of Lester if he's talking like this! Yeeehaaa!

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