Hoes it depends if our sporting stars don’t communicate to us? This is the query, or one in every one of them, posted about Pat Kelly, the obscure trainer with a massive hazard in Friday’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, way to the presence in his Athenry solid of the surprising Presenting Percy. That Kelly remains obscure is absolutely his own preference, given that he has saddled a winner at the Cheltenham Festival in every of the final 3 years. This could be a truthful fulfillment for almost everybody in the game; for someone with fewer than 20 horses in his backyard, it’s miles first rate. By rights, Kelly needs to be lionized. He will now not permit it. Cheltenham Gold Cup jockey Harry Cobden: I chatted football with Fergie … I didn’t understand it Read extra Cheltenham’s PR team recently sought to set up a press conference with him as a part of the Festival buildup however had been turned down. Johnny Ward, an in particularly determined journalist, attempted valiantly, however without success, to get a line or from Kelly as he unsaddled a winner at Gowran in January, the trainer slipping away at the pretext of straightening the pony’s rug. Rumour has it that a small delegation from Horse Racing Ireland, the game’s promotional wing, couldn’t even get an answer when they grew to become up on Kelly’s doorstep.
“I would possibly have spoken to him two times in my lifestyles,” says Gary O’Brien, the TV presenter whose ubiquity lengthy in the past earned him the nickname ‘The voice of Irish racing’. From Cork to Fairyhouse, in case you educate a winner O’Brien is usually via your aspect in a be counted of seconds, however even he has in no way managed to get Kelly on screen. “I’ve run into him more than one times. He became perfectly nice. My impact is he’s shy, doesn’t like the spotlight.” That reticence may also have made Kelly extra exciting than if he had been garrulous. An Eli Wallach on looks, he has by some means acquired the mystique of Clint Eastwood. “Pat is a totally, very quiet guy,” says Philip Reynolds, owner of Presenting Percy. “He stays very an awful lot to himself. Enjoys his drink when the paintings are performed but don’t go seeking out the problem and doesn’t invite publicity.”
Reynolds provides that Kelly had an awful enjoy with a person inside the media, 25 years in the past or more. “I don’t need to enter it, it’s Pat’s tale to inform if he ever decides to inform it. But that has possibly made him doubly digital camera-shy. I suppose he would be beside but that without a doubt hasn’t helped.” The owner seems to be shielding of his buddy’s privacy. At final year’s Festival, I changed into lurking close to Kelly inside the paddock, hoping to get a few phrases to be used in a profile piece sooner or later. As I approached, one of Reynolds’s entourage intervened: “Come on, Pat, Philip wants to speak to you.” By Reynolds’s account, we’re all of the poorer for not knowing Kelly higher. “He does numerous true work around his locality in a very quiet way and those probable recognize nothing about it. He’s a man of deep faith, a large family guy. Visits his mum day by day. And behind all that, he’s an absolute genius on the subject of training horses.” The proprietor is plenty less flattering of Kelly’s solid. “I’ve higher facilities at domestic for a few hunters and show-jumpers than Pat has for schooling racehorses.” Thrills of Cheltenham Festival week can’t mask racing’s unsure future Sean Ingle Read extra Conor O’Dwyer, who won Gold Cups as a jockey and often rode for Kelly within the early 90s, says: “He’s a mad genius. He’s friendly, he’s a terrific fella, he’s definitely a pinnacle-magnificence fella, however, he wouldn’t be really social.” O’Dwyer can don’t forget the days when Kelly skilled winners of the Galway Hurdle inside the area of 4 years, and the trainer’s renewed achievement is no surprise to him. “All he ever wished changed into the ammunition, because the fella says. But then Pat could by no means be one to head chasing owners. He’d feel if humans want him to train their horse, they’ll bring it to him.
“I suppose lower back within the day whilst those correct horses were there, people knew he could train and just gave him the horses. That’s the manner it was again then. Whereas now everyone has to fight their corner plenty tougher and that’s now not in Pat’s nature.” A handful of pundits have recommended that Kelly has a responsibility to be extra impending, to preserve the racing public informed and help generate exposure for the sport and the Gold Cup’s sponsor, Magners. But we are able to all be Frankie Dettori and some human beings are in no way going to be comfy with the PR game. The “responsibility” concept has gained restrained traction and perhaps none in any respect in County Galway, in which “PG” Kelly will be a hero if his horse can stuff the English on Friday. If he additionally annoys the English pressmen with the aid of leaving them quick of quotes, a lot the higher.