Saturday 24 September 2016

President unveils team of jockeys for Australia challenge

Published 28/07/2016 | 02:30

President Michael D Higgins is introduced to members of the Galway Race Committee upon his arrival at the Galway Races at Ballybrit Picture: Steve Humphreys
President Michael D Higgins is introduced to members of the Galway Race Committee upon his arrival at the Galway Races at Ballybrit Picture: Steve Humphreys

Katie Walsh will represent Ireland in the hotly contested Jockey Challenge against Australia.

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The most successful female jockey in Aintree Grand National history, she will join fellow jockeys Luke Dempsey, Ian McCarthy and Johnny Allen - currently based in Australia - to make up the four-strong Irish team.

The line-up was announced by President Michael D Higgins after yesterday's fourth race in Galway.

Walsh follows in the footsteps of her brother Ruby in representing her country at the four-race Ireland vs Australia challenge at Ballarat in Victoria, which is considered to be the home of racing down under.

The Irish quartet will be hoping for a better result than last year, when Australia, led by Steven Pateman, triumphed.

Walsh counts victories in the 2015 Irish Grand National and Group 1 Champion INH Flat Race at Punchestown among her career highlights and said she was honoured to receive an invitation to ride in Australia.

"I can't wait to head to Australia to fly the Irish flag at Ballarat," Walsh has previously said, adding: "I'm really excited to have the opportunity to go head to head with the boys."

She added that Ruby had spoken fondly of his own Australian experience and of the sheer passion of Australian jumps racing fans.

Irish Independent

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