Horse-racing, RTE, Shannon Development, Wexford Opera and Eamon Coghlan

A chip off the old chip:

IT PROBABLY escaped the attention of all but the most rabid of Irish racing fans that a certain Wally Swinburn won his first race in England the other day. The Swinburn in question is not, of course, the same Wally who appears to have a mortgage on Ireland's flat-racing jockey's championnship. Instead, it's Wally junior, a l7-year-old stripling who weighs a mere six stone. That may seem fairly light but Wally senior only tips the scales at eight stone seven pounds.

Trying not to sound inorrdinately proud, Wally senior told Magill under severe presssure that, yes, the young appprentice didn't look too bad on a horse. The father has only seen the son riding on television but "I liked what I saw." Any further comments? "He sat nice and quiet. He looked like a jockey."

What should a jockey look like? "I'm looking for style, balance, a cool head." French Nicholson, to whom Wally junior is apprenticed, is bringging the lad along nice and easy and his winning mount was' apparently the first horse on which he had any kind of a chance. Pundits are reminnding each other that Pat Eddery , who is not entirely unknown in European racing, had scores of unsuccessful rides for Nicholson before landing a winner.

Down at the Swinburn country retreat at Millgrove House, Bracknagh, Co. Kildare, riding is less a passtime than a way of life. Wally junior and his l6-year-old brother Michael, have been riding since they were kneeehigh to a saddle, not only here but in India. And the pictures prove it. In strict chronological order, they were supplied by their mother, Doreen .•

Tales from RTE

IT'S 10.57 am and down in the bowels of the RTE radio studios Pat Kenny strolls in, flapping bits of paper, to host Day by Day. His apparent insouciance belies the hectic schedule that goes into the production of this lively new programme. Kenny's own vintage Lancia has been parkked at Montrose since 8.30 and reporters were as likely or not to have been working up to midnight the previous night to prepare the broadcast.

A graduate engineer,

Kenny's "disciplined mind" (producer Eugene Murray) is a key ingredient in Day by Day s handling of an astonishhing potpourri of subjects. So far, the programme has skatted (sometimes on thin ice) through such topics as racing, football, the national phone system, hair, bread, films, Jehovah's Witnesses, cats and dogs, and even such a weighty affair as the Government's Green Paper. On the premise that there are no "sacred cows," said Murray, Day by Day has also delved into prostitution ("a very excitting programme") and aborrtion.

Although some of the toppics pose obvious problems of sensitivity, the R TE manage-

ment, which sees the ideas beforehand. has never blockked one of them, according to Murray. "So far they have been fairly courageous."

Day by Day's basic forrmat is to take almost any subbject of interest to listeners, and throw some light into its darker corners. The mailbag is heavy - over 200 letters in the. first five weeks alone - and inncludes some fairly poignant letters. One of them followed the abortion programme and came from a woman who had an abortion 30 years ago and never, until the programme, told a soul.

A facility for getting on with young people seems to be a stock-in-trade of Marian Richardson, 24, roving reporrter on yet another bright summer radio programme, Movearound. Marian, whose breezy broadcasts have beecome a feature of Moveearound, has worked with youngsters on BBC and in other RTE productions like Hullabaloo on television and Cogarmogar. She delights in undertaking expeditions for radio that would be anyybody else's idea of purgatory, like squiring 120 eightold boys on a visit to the National Stud .•

Hail the chief

WHEN THE legendary Brendan O'Regan, supremo of the Shannon Development Company, stepped down as chairman earlier this year, the staff a waited intrepidly the new style of successor Frank McCabe, boss of Geneeral Electric's Irish subsidiary. O'Regan, a native of nearby Sixmilebridge, had acquired an enviable reputation as a hard-working but approachhable executive with a talent for innovation. He virtually invented the concept of the duty-free airport. McCabe, a 41-year-old native of Monagghan, turns out to be not a little different.

An American corporate- style training has, from all accounts, persuaded McCabe of the virtues of the costtaccounting approach, i.e. for a given sum of money he wants results .... now. McCabe has been known to red-pencil executive expense accounts submitted after overseas sales trips with a skill akin to artisstry. He cracked the whip in the last few months at Shannon Development's headdquarters - "It's like a military operation," moaned one stafffer. Shannon Development veteran concedes, however, it may not be a bad thing. "McCabe has cut off a lot of fat and I'd say that if there was any flesh left, it will all be gone in six months".

Meanwhile O'Regan, havving sold his house to an oil sheik for an astronomical but undisclosed sum, devotes much of his time to the Peace Movement while also remainning on the Shannon Developpment board .•


THE NEW administrator of the Wexford Opera Festival, 26-year-old Dermot O'Connell, tells a nice story about the ebullient Russian cellist, Rostrapovich, who once guesttconducted a youth training aegis when he was involved with Suffolk's Aldeburgr Festival. "Terrifying", reecalls O'Connell. "He has all the temperament of the great artist" .

It happened like this. The Russian turned up on the first day to lead the orchestra through rehearsals. Half of the members, delayed for various reasons, weren't there. Mollified with difficulty, Rosstrapovich duly began rehearrsals but obviously wasn't pleased with the orchestra's quality. "He was very polite, very nice," says O'Connell but conveyed his unhappiness nonetheless. Finally, he told the players he would arrive two hours later than usual the next day.

As the great cellist obbviously intended, the orchesstra got in two hours of tough practice by themselves before Rostrapovich turned up. "Thereafter they had a great big love affair ," says O'Connell. "Within two days the orchestra was completely transformed." O'Connell reemembers the Russian as a genuinely larger-than-life figgure: - dynamic, talented, and shrewd. "His English is as good as he wants it to be. If he doesn't want to underrstand, he won't".

Meanwhile, O'Connell is settling into his new job. Asked what are the qualities of a good administrator, he says without hesitation: "The main thing is to keep cool. And never let the public blow that anything is wrong".

Eamon Coghlan

FOR EAMONN COGHLAN the next target may be the 1500 metres title at the European Athletic Championnships in Prague in early September, but the immeddiate priority is his job. Yes, our top runner actually earns a living.

For those who only see Coghlan on television, it may come as a surprise to know that the track champion does full-time promotional work for Bord Failte beneath the formidable title of Youth and Educational Promotional Reepresentative. Disclaiming any intention of trading on Coghlan's fame, his superior, Publicity Manager James Larkin said, "we employed him as an executive who happens to be an extremely well-known runner. He isn't employed to wear a tee-shirt". He earns a normal salary but Larkin won't say how much. (We understand it's about £5,000).

To earn his pay, Coghlan helps to draw up enticing study programmes and to market them. During the eight weeks of last year that he travelled in England, Gerrmany, France, Belgium, Hollland, and the United States, : he spoke on radio talk shows . and lectured on university I campuses about Ireland's eduucational attractions.

The job doesn't endanger Coghlan's amateur status.

Anyway, points out Al Guy, International Secretary for BLE, every Irish athlete commpeting abroad is in a way doing promotional work for Ireland. And one of Coghlan's co-workers reasoned, there is nothing wrong with him working. "He has to eat" .•