It's Ladies' Day at Fairyhouse as Katie romps home in National
Published 07/04/2015 | 02:30
How apt that Ladies' Day at Fairyhouse turned into a "fairytale day for the girls" as Katie Walsh rode to victory on Thunder and Roses in the Irish Grand National.
Walsh, sister of legendary jockey Ruby and daughter of trainer Ted, is the third female rider in history to win the race. Nina Carberry struck gold on Organised Confusion in 2011 while Ann Ferris raced ahead on Bentom Boy in 1984.
"It was magical. This is fairytale stuff," Walsh told the Irish Independent. "I was here (in) the year that Nina won it and I looked up and thought 'I wonder what that feels like' and now I know. I'm a very lucky girl and it's been a fantastic trip. I've been lucky enough to ride in the race a couple of times but I could never have dreamed of winning it."
Despite missing out on the title, AP McCoy had a smile on his face as he stepped out of the Parade Ring. "She's better than her brother anyhow," he quipped.
It was a bittersweet victory for trainer Sandra Hughes, who recalled the memory of her late father Dessie - who trained Timbera to win the 2003 Irish Grand National.
"Someone above was helping us out," she said. "Dad always loved this race and to do it for him is wonderful. Dad was with us all the way today."
Taoiseach Enda Kenny was on hand to present Michael O'Leary's brother Eddie, of Gigginstown House Stud, the winning prize of €154,750.
Mr Kenny and his wife Fionnuala also presented AP McCoy with a specially commissioned print highlighting every winner the champion jockey rode in Ireland since 1992.
The stands were heaving as some 16,621 racegoers crowded through the turnstiles for the second day of the Easter Festival.
Garda Ciara Murphy (29) from Dunboyne, Co Meath, won the title of the Carton House Most Stylish Lady and an €8,000 prize package. "It's nice swapping the navy slacks for a pencil skirt," said the Store Street garda.
"I am looking forward to taking my husband Mark to Carton House for a holiday. He's been working hard so I want to spoil him rotten."