The Fly is loved by those who like to watch top class horses in action. And yet, incredibly, his connections had to take to print recently to defend his achievements.
Most recently jockey Patrick Mullins, son of trainer Willie, took the time to write to the Racing Post in defence of Hurricane Fly. Patrick was responding to some veiled, and some more transparent criticism of the new record achieved by Hurricane Fly – 17 Group 1 race wins.
Channel 4 commentator Simon Holt had said that the Fly had won “uncompetitive contests – 11 of them at odds on – which barely deserved their lofty status.”
And Dave Edwards (‘Topspeed’ in the Racing Post) had claimed that the Fly had won his races in “fields of six or less and against the same opponents.”
Patrick Mullins was understandably annoyed by those comments.
He wrote: “Both are, I would suggest, wrong and their views are coloured by them not rating Irish races simply because they are not run in England.
“Fly has beaten more than 20 Grade 1 winners, 12 of them Cheltenham festival winners and 16 of them multiple Grade 1 winners.”
The full letter is published below but, in summary, Mullins says: “Hurricane Fly has defied history by regaining his title after losing it, he has broken three world records despite having three periods of missed time, he has beaten the best over hurdles for the past five years as well as Group 1 winners on the flat and he is a champion.
“Show him the respect he deserves.”
Well said Patrick Mullins.
There is a dreadful snobbery about Irish racing. In my long experience of watching the sport in Ireland, I find it is as competitive as anything served up in England. Indeed, these days, it is often more competitive. You will not come across a plethora of three and four horse races over in Ireland. The racing public wouldn’t put up with it.
Those who go racing in Ireland don’t go there purely to get pissed (as per the English racecourse disease). They may end up the worse for a few pints of Guinness, but not until after racing is finished. They love their racing and they like to watch big field, wide open races.
But they also love to watch true greats – wherever the horse hails from.
They appreciate top class thoroughbreds irrespective of if they are trained on home soil in Ireland, or in the UK.