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Katie's delight at finally making big breakthrough

By Frank Brownlow

Published 28/04/2016

Smiles all round: A delighted Katie Walsh after her first ever Grade One success, Blow By Blow winning the Champion INH Flat Race last night at the Punchestown Festival
Smiles all round: A delighted Katie Walsh after her first ever Grade One success, Blow By Blow winning the Champion INH Flat Race last night at the Punchestown Festival

Katie Walsh was "over the moon" after hitting the big time at the Punchestown Festival with her first ever Grade One success when Blow By Blow won the Champion INH Flat race.

Walsh, one of the finest female jockeys of her generation, sent her mount straight to the lead and stayed there.

"It's great to win a Grade One - I've never won before - so I'm massively over the moon," said Walsh, who came in for the ride on Willie Mullins' 14-1 shot after stable companion Battleford was a declared a non-runner

"I was meant to ride Battleford who was second at Cheltenham and second in Aintree, but things got swapped around.

"I was half tempted to ride Very Much So, but Willie told me to ride Blow By Blow and I think he knows more about it than anyone else. I'm delighted to be on the right one.

"He's as tough as nails and I was looking for company."

Champion trainer Mullins hailed the triumphant jockey.

"Katie was very good and very strong, and I was surprised to hear that is her first Grade One winner," he said.

Jockey Barry Geraghty heaped praise on trainer John Kiely as Carlingford Lough powered home in the Bibby Financial Services Punchestown Gold Cup.

Djakadam kept on to fill the runner-up spot, with his stable companion Don Poli just beating Cue Card to third.

Geraghty said: "What a trainer John Kiely is - he's brilliant.

"He (Carlingford Lough) came from the clouds to win in Leopardstown, Mark (Walsh) gave him a brilliant ride.

"He couldn't go the gallop in Cheltenham and he couldn't go the gallop today, but it was just the way he finished out.

"It was just how long he could sustain that run, but he went all the way to the line."

Meanwhile, Vroum Vroum Mag is one of six declarations for tomorrow's Betdaq Punchestown Champion Hurdle, with fellow Willie Mullins inmate Annie Power a noticeable absentee.

Annie Power claimed the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham as well as the Aintree Hurdle at the Grand National meeting and had been due to try to bring up the hat-trick on the fourth day of the Festival.

However Vroum Vroum Mag, who was taken out of a race at Sandown late last Saturday, will now represent Mullins and owner Rich Ricci.

Mullins said of Annie Power: "She has done enough this season and we will probably let her out to grass."

Mullins also runs Sempre Medici.

Belfast Telegraph

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