Katie Walsh: We were all delighted with Any Second Now
The Betway ambassador reflects on the highs and lows of the Cheltenham Festival, including one particularly special victory.
I thought Cheltenham was a great Festival with a little bit of everything. It was nice that it wasn’t dominated by a select few people and that the success was spread around.
Any Second Now
Obviously for our family it was brilliant to win the Kim Muir with Any Second Now. He ran in the Close Brothers last year and it was lovely to go back to Cheltenham with him.
It had been a long time since dad had a winner there – 1997 when Commanche Court won the Triumph Hurdle. We’ve been lucky enough to have a winner there in the past, some people never do it.
Everyone was there and mum and dad were delighted. We’ve been in racing all our lives.
We know how hard it is to have a runner there let alone a winner. It was a great ride by Derek O’Connor.
It was different for me watching it from the paddock rather than riding. It’s much easier riding than it is watching!
The big screen is so good in the paddock. I certainly wasn’t standing in one spot, I was moving around quite a bit. We all ended up in the one position and it was a great day, thank goodness.
The celebrations were good. We had a couple of drinks in the winners’ room and we then went out and had a meal.
We’ve watched the replay a couple of times and I’m sure it will be watched a couple more times before the end of the season.
The obvious next step for him is the Irish Grand National next month. He appreciated the ground and hopefully it will be on the easy side at Fairyhouse.
It looks the ideal place to be going with him.
I wouldn’t be going overboard about the quality of the Kim Muir. He’ll need to step up again obviously, but hopefully he can get there fit and healthy.
Tiger Roll was absolutely brilliant in the Cross Country Chase, I was delighted for Keith Donoghue.
It was great for Rachael Blackmore to have one winner, never mind two. Some jockeys never do it.
Other highlights were Gavin Cromwell, Paul Townend, Mark Walsh and Martin Brassil.
There were stories everywhere, Bryony Frost, Frodon and Paisley Park. Andrew Gemmell is an inspiration and a great character.
Emma Lavelle and Barry Fenton have been in the game a long time, and after the race he was nearly crying.
Obviously I was really pleased for Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott, but it was nice to see some of the smaller operations have big winners as well.
Willie deserved to win the Gold Cup. He’d had a lot of runners and a lot of seconds.
It was really nice for him to win it and win it in style. Bellshill didn’t run to form, I would have loved to have seen him show up.
It was disappointing for Presenting Percy’s connections, but I would say that everyone who said he couldn’t win it on the back of one run was wrong, because that’s all that Al Boum Photo had.
Conditions should be looked at in National Hunt Chase
There has been plenty said about the four-miler and I was very pleased that Declan Lavery’s ban was overturned.
Maybe the conditions of the race need to be looked at.
I’m not sure you need to go four miles with first-season novices. I would hate to see the race go, it’s steeped in history and I was lucky enough to win it with a second-season novice.
It’s a race that every amateur wants to win.
Up and down week for Ruby
It was a great start for Ruby to win the Supreme again, Klassical Dream was very good.
Benie Des Dieux was obviously a downer and I suppose there was a bit of déjà vu. You can say what you like, it’s just one of those things and is part and parcel of racing. There are lots of highs and lows.
Faugheen ran well in the Stayers’ Hurdle. It was a truly run race and I thought Sam Spinner ran a super race as well.
Can’t wait for Aintree
I’m really looking forward to Aintree. I love the meeting and love the city. It’s great sport and great craic.
There’s a different feel and vibe to Cheltenham, and there’s always great excitement around it. Hopefully Tiger Roll can win again.
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