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The Irish Grand National
Chasing a dreAM
It records the development of its sporting heritage in the
wider context of Irish history including during the 1916 Rising when a lot of
the British army and police were at Fairyhouse oblivious to what was happening
in the centre of Dublin.
The story is told with passion, emotion and humour by those most associated with Ireland’s most historic jumps race, including generations of racing families such as Carberry, Dreaper, Moore, Mullins, Taaffe and Walsh. Other names who share their personal accounts include, Richard Dunwoody and David Elsworth. There was a time when ladies were forbidden to ride and train racehorses and the show explores this and meets Ann Ferris, the first winning lady rider in this race and Jenny Pitman first winning lady trainer. It also features many outstanding steeplechasers, horses that have taken their place in Sports Folklore, such as Arkle, Desert Orchid and Brown Lad. The feature length documentary also traces the origin of the famous sport and re-enacts the world’s first recorded steeplechase when two gentlemen challenged each other to a race in Ireland between the church steeples of Buttevant and Doneraile, Cork, in 1752, hence the name steeplechasing.
The Great Stayer
The compelling portrait of Paddy Mullins (1919-2010), is uniquely told against the backdrop of relevant transformative events in Irish history. Using rare archive footage and very special location access from the Mullins family and Cheltenham racecourse, the documentary chronicles the extraordinary life and times of the quiet man of Irish Racing.
Paddy Mullins the ten times champion Irish National Hunt trainer who achieved Classic and Group One success on the flat, opened up horeracing in Ireland and showed it wasn’t just a Sport of Kings. Paddy also helped build the reputation of Irish racehorses globally and had a career that gave him the highest of highs and a path to success that wasn't always straightforward. It explores the revered trainers magical work with the wonder mare Dawn Run that brought about one of the most iconic sporting moments in history in 1986 at Cheltenham. When legendary BBC commentator Sir Peter O’ Sullevan called the mare home in the spine-chilling heightened tones of one of his most famous commentaries, his words “and the mare is beginning to get up” will never be forgotten. This fascinating film filters down to the world famous Mullins dynasty, who now carry on his incredible legacy. Told by his family, peers, jockeys, stable lads, historian, tv pundit, friends and former manager of Cheltenham racecourse.
SEEING OUT THE DISTANCE
Sir Peter O’Sullevan – The voice of racing: “A brilliant,
colourful and fast evocation of the spirit of Punchestown – the heartbeat of
Irish history on the hoof”.
This fantastic documentary gives a thrilling insight into the unique Punchestown Horseracing Festival both past and present. Set around the 2011 festival, it includes stories about champion horses like Hurricane Fly and Kauto Star). Participants include, Barry Geraghty, Conor O’Dwyer, Ken Whelan, JP Mc Manus, Mouse Morris, Nicky Henderson, Noel Meade, Paul Nichols, Paul Townend and Tony Mullins. Also included are visits to Willie Mullins' and Jim Dreaper's training yards. Not to mention the fashion, style, celebrities, and pundits.
Backed up with archive footage and photos, the programme delves into the past when races were over banks and stonewalls, when the first VIP visits were royal and it also portrays Captain Laurence Oates (Antarctic Explorer) whose horse won the Grand Military Cup in 1905.
It recalls many memorable moments including the great horses that graced its grounds such as Arkle and Istabraq and the ‘Match Race’ between Buck House and Dawn Run.
© Bankos Tales Production Limited