Friday 15 December 2017

Still floating on air after a week to savour

Katie Walsh

My feet still haven't quite touched the ground. Before last week, I'd been to Cheltenham with a couple of chances and come away with nothing, so to go there with no ride and come away with two winners was something special. It's a memory I'll savour forever, but I'm just trying to live in the moment right now.

When I met Ruby after winning on Poker De Sivola on Wednesday, the look in his eyes said it all. He knows. Everybody will tell you that their first Cheltenham Festival winner is their best, regardless of how many Gold Cup winners you ride.

That first time you pass that post in front is an unbelievable feeling. It's one that you won't ever feel again. Then Thousand Stars won on Friday to cap an incredible week, and I haven't had a chance to draw breath since.

I've done interviews for all sorts of media, including a live one with my whole family for Marian Finucane's show on RTE Radio 1 on Saturday morning. I was driving the jeep with all our gear in it to Holyhead at the time, so that was a bit weird.

You're in the car on the speakerphone and they're in the studio, but you know you're on the radio too, which was pretty strange. It was grand after a couple of minutes though, and I was glad to do it. It's great to get the opportunity to promote racing and lady riders, especially after last week.

I was in such a state of euphoria on Saturday that even being stuck on the M6 for an hour and a half on the way to Holyhead -- and missing the first boat -- didn't bother me. I'd be terrible in traffic usually, but I just turned off the engine and let it all go over my head.

I eventually arrived back in Kill at about 7.0 on Saturday evening. I met up with Mam and Dad and the rest of the gang, before heading down to the house that I share in Kilcullen with a couple of girls.

I was absolutely exhausted. We had a couple of beers and I watched the replays again, but that was all I was capable of before crashing down for some sleep.

On Sunday I travelled to Cork with Nina Carberry for one ride, which struggled a bit on the ground, but still finished fourth. Back to reality! That night we did a bit of celebrating in Kilcullen, but there was plenty to be done on Monday morning, so it was nothing too mad.

A lot of the horses at home would have had an easy week because of Cheltenham, so it was a case of trying to get the whole show going again. Of no small importance are my own breeze-up horses. Dad has always turned a few over at the breeze-up sales, but this is the first year I've speculated myself.

I bought four yearlings at Newmarket in the autumn, so they are being prepared for the upcoming sales in April and May. Having had last week off they were plenty fresh and didn't seem at all impressed by my accomplishments in Cheltenham. I suppose they were just trying to bring me back down to earth -- literally!

interviews

The interviews continued all week, and I did another radio one with Clem Ryan for KFM on Monday evening. The following morning, I was on duty with the model Pippa O'Connor and the bookmaker Seamus Mulvaney on Henry Street in Dublin to launch the Punchestown Festival Ladies Day for Arnotts, the new sponsors.

That was a bit of craic, I must say. Seamus was there in his flashy suit and his bookies' stand; Pippa was decked out in all her finery; and I was in my riding gear. A small crowd gathered to watch and, to be honest, it felt as though I was on show in the middle of the street!

Anyway, some sort of normality is slowly returning, and the past couple of days have been full working days on the yard. Last week was special, but work goes on and life goes on, and it's a case of trying to continue as best I can now. After all, they say you're only as good as your next bad ride.



  • For more information on racing in Ireland this weekend check out www.goracing.ie.


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