The first Grade one race of the brand new Irish national hunt campaign went the way of the Noel Meade trained Road to Respect this afternoon at Down Royal racecourse.
Jockey Sean Flanagan was aboard this 8-year-old, delivering a text-book ride against rivals who had much more in their favour. Bar the somewhat uneasy leap at the last there wasn’t a minutes concern for Road to Respect’s backers – from a long way from home Flanagan appeared to have his measure on all of his opponents.
“Road to Respect became the first horse to record back-back wins in this race since Beef or Salmon back in 2006”.
Wexford born jockey Flanagan has always been a top class rider; even prior to his employment as retained rider for Noel Meade’s operation Flanagan was always worth his weight in gold though maybe not seen at best effect riding mostly outsiders, and wanting that big Saturday horse but as the old saying goes; “the Birds sing because they have a song, not because they want to impress anyone.”
The same similarities can be made to Flanagan’s considerable progression; he doesn’t do what he does to impress anyone; he is just plain gifted, perhaps slightly underrated by many but that wouldn’t bother him in the slightest.
Submerging in as a replacement for retiring Paul Carberry, was deemed as the poison chalice position by most; A lot of speculation around the theory Carberry was be greatest jockey of them all (He was very much up there) and Flanagan couldn’t lace his boots. That was a very unfair allegation but that didn’t play on Flanagan’s mind at all. He strolled in to Tu Va Stables in Co. Meath and rode everything to the best of their ability at the racecourse; very much taking this immense position in his stride, nothing appears to faze Flanagan he is just a down-to-earth-guy who wants to ride winners; there is no other agenda on his mind.
What does the future hold for Flanagan? Nobody knows, but one thing is for certain his up-ward spiral appears to be halting no time soon. Sean Flanagan has the ultimate respect for everyone that will lead him further on the road to success – I’m certain of that.
To be a champion, I think you have to see the big picture. It’s not about winning and losing; it’s about every day hard work and about thriving on a challenge.