Gordon Elliott has trained many high-profile horses including the special Coko Beach.

Brendan Boylan Column: Life’s a Beach for Gordon on a day for hot Coko

Life’s a Beach for Gordon on a day for hot Coko

A colleague imparted some friendly advice in this direction during the week regarding my long held practice of putting tips online any day there’s a horse racing fixture in Ireland. Well, in fact, not so much that, as a bit of prudent and gladly received guidance in relation to sharing same on social media.

I am all too aware how damaging gambling can be when it becomes problematic and have seen lives shaken to the very core on foot of it.

Furthermore, there’s also complete cognisance of how much passions have been riled by the gambling related legislation currently making its way through the Oireachtas. For what it’s worth though, I am not or have never been working in conjunction with any bookmaker, nor would I.

As these things often do, it started as a bit of craic between myself and my father. From whom the racing bug was absolutely inherited. He’d get the papers in the morning - Irish Independent, Racing Post and either the Farmer’s Journal or the Irish Field depending on the day.

He’d make note of what the ‘professional’ tipsters had put up, compare it to my picks and then see who had the most wins or places at the end of the day.

When it became apparent yours truly had a fair handle on what I was doing, one day, he said to me “You’re as good as any of them at tipping, is there anywhere you could put them up where more people could see them”?

At the time, the first incarnation of Boylan Talks Sport - very kindly constructed for me by Dave Reddy - had gone to its eternal reward and what has been my life saver since its inception by my dearly beloved hadn’t at that stage landed.

So, at the time, the only option in terms of publicising the tips was to post them on social media. When the website was up and running again in June 2019, it was the obvious place for the tips to be posted.

And the truth of the matter is that they are by far the most popular of the regular features. However, none of the above are the reason for what you are reading.

Ironically, what you will read hereafter will entertain you at my own expense. Not for the first time - and probably not the last - one was left counting the cost of not following my own advice. A case of do as I say, not as I do!

Prior to Sunday’s renewal of the Troytown Chase, I made the point that it was hardly ideal having one trainer being responsible for 15 of the 22 intended runners. Not to mention that the vast majority thereof would be running in the maroon and white silks of Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud.

It’s important to state, mind you, that my pondering as to whether there should be a limit on the number of representatives an owner or trainer can have in a given race was not, in any way, meant as a dig at either Gordon Elliott or Gigginstown. Merely a contemplation of why other trainers don’t run horses in such races and/or what can be done to encourage them to do so.

Though in terms of this year’s renewal, out of the Elliott-trained troop, the one seeing eye was drawn to the 8-year-old grey, Coko Beach. It’s one of the special things about National Hunt racing is that, over time, you can develop a fondness for and/or affinity with certain horses.

Coko Beach is absolutely one such example with this observer. Gordon has trained many more high profile horses to run in and win many more high profile races and will do again, but this enthusiast would give the one working arm to own a horse like Coko Beach. Or even a bit of him!

Naysayers will no doubt say he’s “Only a plough horse” or “only a handicapper” but if I was fortunate enough to own even a few hairs in the backside of the so-called “Mudlark” it would be as good as being connected to a Hurricane Fly or a Dawn Run or a SpotThedifference.

Thus, knowing that the terrain in Proudstown Park was quite likely to be on the testing side - to put it mildly - there was no hesitation in putting Coko Beach forward as my most likely winner of the famed local handicap.

Did I validate my own viewpoint and punt on the proven front runner? Of course I didn’t. Instead plumping for the one Gordon put forward himself as his most likely winner - Hollow Games.

What happens? You guessed it - the latter-named was nowhere to be seen. Meanwhile, my old pal Coko jumped off in front and stayed there!

Under a cool but studious ride by the burgeoning Danny Gilligan who displayed nous and skill belying the formative stage of his career at which he currently is. Leaving some people, cough, to do nothing more than indulge in a hot cup of cocoa on a wintry evening!