Sport Cheltenham

Saturday 20 September 2014

I'm halfway there, says Cheltenham champ Jim Culloty on his fourth win

Published 12/05/2014 | 02:30

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Jockey Davy Russell with four-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Jim Culloty, trainer of the horse Lord Windemere, at Killarney Racecourse, Co Kerry. Picture: DOMNICK WALSH

FOUR-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Jim Culloty says he won't stop aiming for racing's biggest prize until he has a goblet for every place at his dining table – which seats eight.

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As the winning trainer of this year's Gold Cup at the Cheltenham festival with Lord Windemere, Culloty won the replica goblet on three previous occasions as winning jockey on Best Mate.

He explained that the coveted cup is awarded to the owner, but the jockey and trainer get replica gold goblets.

"The table seats eight and I have four already, so I'm halfway there," he said.

An even greater distinction for the Killarney native was being recognised for his achievements in his hometown, which honoured him with a civic reception on the opening day of the Killarney Races.

Culloty (40), whose father Donal is a former town mayor, is the last person to be given a civic reception before Killarney Town Council is disbanded.

The winning jockey, Davy Russell, was also a guest at the event.

Reflecting on his big win in March, Culloty said: "To be honest, I'm a racing professional. I'm a professional trainer and before that I was a professional jockey, so it's work. But it's lovely to be able to comment on a day like today and get a presentation that I'm very honoured to receive from the town council.

"It will be half an hour of presentation and a few speeches and then I can have a few drinks with my family and friends and let the hair down, which I rarely get an opportunity to do," he added. This means a huge amount to Dad as well. It's a great honour and I'm humbled."

Mr Culloty thanked his parents Donal and Maureen for "raising him well to be reasonably successful and be able to keep his eye on the ball" and his wife of 10 years Susie for "putting up" with him in good times and in bad.

He also thanked Killarney Town Council for the good work it had done and said he hoped some alternative would be put in its place before long.

"I'm proud to say I'm from Killarney and I'm proud to be able to tell people to come here and that's thanks to Killarney Town Council that made it that way."

He suggested a modern adaptation of his civic right to tie his donkey to Market Cross – and joked that perhaps instead he could be exempt from parking tickets.

Irish Independent

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