Good Old Danno - March 18, 1982

Good Old Danno - March 18, 1982

Good fortune, wealth and success didn't come easily to the Heaslip brothers, Michael and Danno.

They worked hard to attain it. And when the all-smiling D a n n o led in For Auction after winning the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last Tuesday before an armchair TV viewing audience of millions, it was their greatest success of all.

The man, small in size by any standards, but always big in heart, literally walked ten feet tall. He first brandished his race programme high. Then he embraced brother Michael and then he just kept smiling. A Galway cheer in the background shouted: "Good Old Danno." The accent was unmistakeably Galway.

This was the richest hurdle race ever run. And quite candidly, Danno's horse For Auction was not fancied. In fact he came home at 40 to 1 odds. I backed the favourite, Daring Run, myself.

You see Danno's horse had been second so often that punters like myself didn't trust him anymore. He was like Pat Quinn's horse Leitrim. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. A lot of Galway money went down with him. Even Danno himself had begun to doubt his worth. Just a little.

And then came the Sweeps Hurdle victory in Leopardstown last Christ­mas. Remember it was postponed. And For Auction came romping home. The bridesmaid became the bride. The ever optimistic Danno when interviewed said his next objective was the Schweppes Hurdle at Newbury and then the Champion Hurdle.

One forgave Danno his enthusiasm. He came fourth in the Schweppes, losing to Royal Prince and Ekbalco (who was giving him plenty of weight ) - two of his oppon­ents of last Tuesday. His performance was encour­aging, but the Champion Hurdle chances had faded. Or so it seemed.

And so to Tuesday last. It is history now how Daring Run slipped up on the flat. For Auction was always well placed and then nearing the end, you felt he'd be in the shake up. And then over the last hurdle you felt he'd win. And he won pulling away. And you roared your head off.

For Auction is now the greatest hurdle racer in the world. Of course there are scores to settle. Ahead obviously, like the Templegate Hurdle in Aintree and possibly the Royal Doulton afterwards and hopefully the Galway Hurdle in July. One hopes he is not over raced. And battles with Daring Run.

A few years ago Michael "Hopper" Mangan's 'Monksfield' be­came the darling of the Galway punters. There were signs then of Ray Rooney's 'Golden Cyg­net' having a great future before misfortune befell him at Ayr. But now we have the Champion Hurler in Galway. I met many Galway punters last Tuesday who in loyalty to Danno and Galway had a flutter on the local horse. One was Tommy Nevin, who told me he had a wager on him also on the Sweeps Hurdle Day. I hope the wager was sizeable enough. For odds at 40 to one will never be offered on this horse again. And his worth has increased no end if he is ever put up for auction (something most unlikely now ).

To Danno and all concerned not least trainer Michael Cunningham, we say congrats. Some people who are begrudgers will say there will be no sticking him now. But I know Danno. You'll see him out jogging on the Prom every evening, still giving a hand to training schoolboys, and very involved in the Conquer Cancer Campaign in Galway of which he is a very efficient chairman.

Good Old Danno. Keep it Up.

by Same Maguire

Good fortune, wealth and success didn't come easily to the Heaslip brothers, Michael and Danno.

They worked hard to attain it. And when the all-smiling D a n n o led in For Auction after winning the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last Tuesday before an armchair TV viewing audience of millions, it was their greatest success of all.

The man, small in size by any standards, but always big in heart, literally walked ten feet tall. He first brandished his race programme high. Then he embraced brother Michael and then he just kept smiling. A Galway cheer in the background shouted: "Good Old Danno." The accent was unmistakeably Galway.

This was the richest hurdle race ever run. And quite candidly, Danno's horse For Auction was not fancied. In fact he came home at 40 to 1 odds. I backed the favourite, Daring Run, myself.

You see Danno's horse had been second so often that punters like myself didn't trust him anymore. He was like Pat Quinn's horse Leitrim. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. A lot of Galway money went down with him. Even Danno himself had begun to doubt his worth. Just a little.

And then came the Sweeps Hurdle victory in Leopardstown last Christ­mas. Remember it was postponed. And For Auction came romping home. The bridesmaid became the bride. The ever optimistic Danno when interviewed said his next objective was the Schweppes Hurdle at Newbury and then the Champion Hurdle.

One forgave Danno his enthusiasm. He came fourth in the Schweppes, losing to Royal Prince and Ekbalco (who was giving him plenty of weight ) - two of his oppon­ents of last Tuesday. His performance was encour­aging, but the Champion Hurdle chances had faded. Or so it seemed.

And so to Tuesday last. It is history now how Daring Run slipped up on the flat. For Auction was always well placed and then nearing the end, you felt he'd be in the shake up. And then over the last hurdle you felt he'd win. And he won pulling away. And you roared your head off.

For Auction is now the greatest hurdle racer in the world. Of course there are scores to settle. Ahead obviously, like the Templegate Hurdle in Aintree and possibly the Royal Doulton afterwards and hopefully the Galway Hurdle in July. One hopes he is not over raced. And battles with Daring Run.

A few years ago Michael "Hopper" Mangan's 'Monksfield' be­came the darling of the Galway punters. There were signs then of Ray Rooney's 'Golden Cyg­net' having a great future before misfortune befell him at Ayr. But now we have the Champion Hurler in Galway. I met many Galway punters last Tuesday who in loyalty to Danno and Galway had a flutter on the local horse. One was Tommy Nevin, who told me he had a wager on him also on the Sweeps Hurdle Day. I hope the wager was sizeable enough. For odds at 40 to one will never be offered on this horse again. And his worth has increased no end if he is ever put up for auction (something most unlikely now ).

To Danno and all concerned not least trainer Michael Cunningham, we say congrats. Some people who are begrudgers will say there will be no sticking him now. But I know Danno. You'll see him out jogging on the Prom every evening, still giving a hand to training schoolboys, and very involved in the Conquer Cancer Campaign in Galway of which he is a very efficient chairman.

Good Old Danno. Keep it Up.

 

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