Weblog: A Bettor view of the world
A Month at Drumbo Park
The month of June is always a favourite of mine for racing as I love the Epsom Derby and Royal Ascot. But it’s now a time when our Northern Irish Derby is also on and I thoroughly enjoy heading up to Belfast every weekend.
Last year it was our first NI Derby and it went extremely well. With the help of everyone, especially Sky Sports, final night was superb and it was so well received that sponsoring it again this year was a must.
Well this year, on Saturday, June 2, the first round of heats kicked off at Drumbo Park. We arrived in Belfast early in the afternoon and as soon as we reached the stadium we set up and started filming for our first video.
We met up with assistant racing manager Ryan Rossborough who was frantically running around organising everyone, and he helped us find some of the trainers for interviews.
So just before the races commenced I managed to speak to Fraser Black, a Scottish Derby winner, Brian Macklin, whose Star Head came second last year, Craig Kelly and Robert Gleeson. I was also delighted to be able to chat to John McGee, who won the English Derby in 1988 with Hit the Lid. He's back this year with Gizmo Titan, his grandson Jamie’s dog who won the consolation prize last year, and another strong contender, Ruthless Man.
After the heats and a superb three course meal in the restaurant, where I always feel under-dressed compared to the Northern Irish ladies, Ryan asked me to do the draw for round two and I have to say with only one wide runner in the competition and the majority being railers, I felt the pressure. Luckily most were still smiling at me afterwards!!
Working with Drumbo Park this year I thought would be manic as I was informed in early April that the wife of racing manager John Connor, who I work with during this competition, was expecting their first child. Although I did have a mild panic attack when I heard that she was due just a few days before the first round of the Derby I realised that I had absolutely nothing to worry about, as Ryan has been superb. Congratulations John, enjoy your paternity leave and I hope to see you at the final!
Finally, I remember Gary Newbon revealing last year that he would have liked a Best Dressed competition for the men, so following the success of last year’s for the ladies, we might just be incorporating it. The question is, if we do, should Gary and Hobbsy participate? You might have to improve on the pink tie though Hobbsy as those men in Belfast are quite trendy!
The finals night will again be broadcast live on Sky Sports on Saturday, June 23. For those who want to come along for the Final and haven’t been before, I recommend booking tables now as they go so quickly.
All the interviews, news, tips and races for the competition will be uploaded on www.bettorniderby.com , our new website, and tweeted regularly by me @Bettor_Jayne.
I wish everyone the best of luck!