Pierce and Fiona Flynn, Park Hotel presents the Waterford Supreme Sports Stars Award 2017 to the winner, Henry DeBromhead. Included is his wife, Heather. Photo: Sean Byrne.
Saturday night at the Park Hotel kicked off with a video of the ‘Dessie swim’ from Des Cahill’s foray into Dancing with The Stars last year. Quite an introduction for the Sunday Game anchor who has proven a hit at weddings in the last twelve months by his own admission. On his third visit, he handled the occasion with consummate ease and the stories flowed. Fun and informative at the same time.
The end of the 27th instalment was the traditional standing ovation reserved for the victor. Henry de Bromhead was first to join Dessie on stage and even though he knew he was in with a squeak, the decorated trainer could hardly believe his latest achievement after surveying the other fourteen hopefuls. “I’m blown away,” uttered a genuinely gobsmacked De Bromhead on accepting the Supreme Sports Star prize.
In post-race interviews, he rarely gets overly carried away and deflected the plaudits to his backroom staff on this occasion. “It’s a big team effort and I’m just the one at the front.” A fitting conclusion to this grand celebration of Waterford sport.
The Knockeen man is at the top of his game right now. He saddled his fourth Cheltenham winner in March as Special Tiara capitalised on a below par run from the unbackable Douvan to take the Queen Mother Champion Chase. “Going into it, obviously it was all about Douvan so we were just hoping to be in the frame. Suddenly we were six or eight lengths up at the top of the hill and in a lovely rhythm. It really came out of the blue because we were there for the place money.”
Des enquired about whether Henry gets the chance to soak up the festivities. “We had a party that night definitely! It’s our Olympics as we always say.” And how does he cope with the punters? “You just sit on the fence!”
De Bromhead enjoyed seven winners over the Christmas period. 50/1 shot Ellie Mac, owned by the family and friends of Niccolai Schuster, was the undoubted highlight of the Leopardstown meeting. The UCD student was killed in the Berkeley tragedy two years ago. A couple of disappointing runs from Ellie Mac gave no indication of what was to come. De Bromhead tried to dissuade the owners initially from entering the race but Niccolai’s father John twisted his arm. “He said that this is about more than racing for us, this is about family and friends coming together. I definitely wasn’t getting in the way of that. It was the most amazing story and the mare came out of nowhere.”