| 17.9°C Dublin

Double delight for Carberry as he lands first win and gets engaged

IT was a double victory for top jockey Paul Carberry who had more than one reason to celebrate on and off the racecourse.

The jump jockey marked his first Cheltenham win this year after romping to victory in the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle Race on day four of the racing festival.

And the champagne flowed freely last night as the leading jockey also toasted his engagement to long-term girlfriend Rachel Clarke.

Paul popped the question to a delighted Rachel at his recent birthday celebrations and the couple will wed next year, the Herald can reveal.


"We got engaged at Paul's 40th three weeks ago so its very exciting," Rachel said.

"We will do the deed next year, so there is a lot to look forward to."

The Meath-based couple, who are parents to daughters Kacey Lou (4) and 15-month-old Elle-Jay, have a huge circle of racing friends, but Rachel said it would be a quiet celebration in Adare Manor, Co Limerick.

"We have so many people that we would like to invite, but it will be a small affair," she added. "We are hoping to do it in Adare next year and hopefully it will go well."

The glamorous brunette was on hand to congratulate her husband-to-be in the winners enclosure yesterday.

The final day of Cheltenham was an exciting one for the Irish contingent with six overall wins, but particularly for Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary, who enjoyed four wins, including in the opening Triumph Hurdle with Tiger Roll, ridden by jockey Davy Russell.

Russell went on to cap a fantastic day when he claimed the feature Gold Cup race for trainer Jim Culloty, two months after he lost his job as top jockey at O'Leary's Gigginstown Stud.

O'Leary said there were no hard feelings between him and Russell, who was replaced by Bryan Cooper as his lead jockey at the stables.

"We explained the situation to Davy at Christmas and we hoped he would continue to ride horses for us and hopefully he will continue to ride winners for us," said the airline boss.

The sun came out to play and temperatures soared to the high teens as more than 60,000 people flocked through the turnstiles for the final day of this year's festival.

Famous faces, including pop star Lily Allen, Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson and ex-Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson enjoyed the sunshine and hospitality.