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Martin Brassil: Dublin Racing Festival Could Rival Cheltenham One Day

The Dublin Racing Festival could one day rival the Cheltenham Festival.

That’s the view of top Irish trainer Martin Brassil who spoke exclusively to us here at BoyleSports ahead of this weekend’s Dublin Racing Festival.

The trainer of the 2006 Grand National winner Numbersixvalverde has also previewed the action at Leopardstown this weekend in what sets up to be a top-class two days of racing in Ireland.

Plus Brassil gives us his insight into his horse Fastorslow’s chances in the Irish Gold Cup, what next for Desertmore House and what it’s like as a trainer competing against the ‘super yards’.

The Prestige of The Dublin Racing Festival

It is now huge in its own right. Why shouldn’t it be?

We [the Irish] have some of the best horses, best trainers and best jockeys!

I’m only half joking! We do have some of the best horses around at this juncture.

There is huge expectation about Irish horses going to Cheltenham compared with when I started out as a trainer 30 years ago when we’d be lucky to come away with three or four winners. That has totally turned around.

The likes of Willie (Mullins), Gordon (Elliott) and Henry (de Bromhead) are picking up an awful lot of the prizes over there, not a singleton like myself!

The Dublin Racing Festival Has the Potential To Rival Cheltenham

Why not extend it?

If we go for three days maybe we can start forgetting about Cheltenham and concentrate on our own…

and attract the English over here instead.

You never say never in this life. You can see something in Dublin that has taken off and is getting more and more popular. The prize money is fantastic. 

Put on the right races and you will attract the right horses and that is what everyone wants to see.

Lack Of British Horses Competing In Ireland A Surprise

I am and they used to. If you back to the Gold Cup roll of honour, Jodami won it three times for instance. Paul Nicholls won it with Tidal Bay. 

Because Ireland are currently so dominant, maybe English trainers are struggling to get owners to give that kind of money for point to point or bumper winners. They don’t have the same firepower.

Competing Against Mullins, Elliott & de Bromhead

It is very tough. If you have a good horse then it is great. It is tough day in and day out. Wherever you go now you can’t avoid them.

Years ago before they got that strong you were always able to gear a horse perhaps towards the summer months, but they have that many customers and that many horses they have to keep a big batch for the summer. It doesn’t matter where you turn up, either one or both will be there!

It is inevitable, I suppose. But it is totally new to people who have been in the game as long as I have. If you go back 40-50 years no trainer had more than 50-60 horses, the likes of Tom Draper, and Vincent O’Brien; none of them had those types of numbers that Willie, Gordon and Henry do – it has changed dramatically.

It is no fault of the big trainers that they are attracting the wealthier owners who are willing to buy expensive point-to-point and bumper winners. Fair play to them.

Cause of Recent Irish Horse Racing Success?

Our economy has turned around greatly since the recession. There are wealthier people here in Ireland; and the business model that Willie and Gordon have is to find those people with money to spend and attract them.

People go mad to have a winner in Cheltenham and pay all sorts of silly money. They have proven that they can do the job and win those big prizes; so it has a snowball effect and more and more people want to have horses with them to experience that feeling.

Fastorslow Live For Irish Gold Cup Glory

Yep. He’s going for the Irish Gold Cup. There are only five left in. The rest of the week should be nice and dry and the ground should be fine for him. 

He has been a real standard bearer and stepped up to the mark when I put him into Grade One company. Hopefully, he can maintain his form.

Can Fastorslow beat Galopin Des Champs for the 3rd time in a row?

The way Galopin Des Champs won the Savills Chase, I am sure he will use the same tactics to make sure it is a similar staying contest.

*Galopin Des Champs is the 3/10 favourite to win the 2024 Irish Gold Cup according to the latest horse racing betting odds at BoyleSports.

We beat him twice last year. The John Durkan was a short race which wouldn’t have played into Galopin’s hands.

The way he won the Gold Cup just proved that is exactly what he is. He will be making sure it is a true run contest and you’ll need stamina if you are to get past him.

*Martin Brassil-trained Fastorslow is 3/1 to win the Irish Gold Cup this Sunday at the Dublin Racing Festival per the latest horse racing odds at BoyleSports.

Importance of Having a Horse Like Fastorslow For the Yard

It’s very important. I have been lucky enough to have some nice horses through the years. I had Nickname, a good two-mile chaser.

It’s great to have a horse like Fastorslow. I never dreamt of ever having a Gold Cup horse. At the moment that dream is very much alive.

He will certainly go for the Gold Cup and see how he gets on.

Where next for Desertmore House?

I am entering him in both the BoyleSports Irish Grand National and Aintree. If the ground is too heavy (at Fairyhouse) I will aim for Liverpool.

I also have Panda Boy and Longhouse Poet entered for the Grand National.

Brassil On His Success This Season

It gets easier when you know you’re getting up in the morning to look at some nice horses.

As you get older it is easier to recognise a good one from an ordinary one.

I am lucky I have family help. My son David was working in France for ten years. Conor, my son, rides out for me. I also have some very good staff.

How To Take On Mullins Battalions of Multiple Horses In A Race

Just run your own race. Ride the race to suit your horse and don’t be dragged into what they are doing.

We’d have our own plans, but the secret is having the good horses to take Willie on!

What The Grand National Means

Numbersixvalverde won in 2006 and I had the third in 2014 with Double Seven. 

Winning the National was the best day of my life in racing. It’s a race that nobody lets you forget.

You can be winning some of those big races but when you win a National it is a huge occasion and your name is remembered. The National means an awful lot to me.

How To Grow The Sport of Horse Racing

I would like to see racing be more attractive for younger people to go racing. The cost of living has gone so high that not every young person can afford it. They’ll go to the Festivals but not much more.

They could get more people to the small meetings by either reducing the entry fee or making it free for young people.

I’d let young people in for nothing.

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2024 Irish Gold Cup Odds

*Prices subject to fluctuation.

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