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Video: Was this Ruby Walsh's finest win, on Ulster horse Killultagh Vic?

By Steven Beacom

Published 18/01/2016

Down but not out: Ruby Walsh makes an amazing recovery on Killultagh Vic to gain a dramatic triumph at Leopardstown
Down but not out: Ruby Walsh makes an amazing recovery on Killultagh Vic to gain a dramatic triumph at Leopardstown

In horse racing circles they called it a 'miracle' and one of the greatest victories of all time. Iconic trainer Willie Mullins, not known for handing out praise lightly, described it as 'extraordinary' and jockey Ruby Walsh smiled with satisfaction.

And amid hundreds of stunned spectators at Leopardstown yesterday, Ulster-owned horse Killultagh Vic cantered into the winner's circle as if nothing unusual had happened.

This was no routine day at the office though.

This was spectacular stuff.

Killultagh Vic, ridden by county Kildare native Walsh, was leading the 'Money Back On Fallers' At Novice Chase approaching the final fence.

The 2-7 favourite, who had made the running, appeared to jump well but his front two legs gave way on landing, and then his back two did the same.

As he hit the deck, racecourse commentator Dessie Scahill stated: "He'll never recover from that!"

Somehow Walsh stayed on board and to the amazement of those in attendance, Killultagh Vic, a winner at both the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals last season, found his feet to continue racing when it appeared as though that was an impossible task.

Walsh had lost an iron but that did not stop the legendary jockey from gathering up the Mullins-trained seven-year-old.

In those few dramatic seconds, however, Blair Perrone and Lord Scoundrel had galloped past, leaving Killultagh Vic adrift in third place.

Remarkably, Killultagh Vic, owned by a syndicate headed by Rose Boyd from Crossgar, who also part owns the great Hurricane Fly, rallied superbly.

With Walsh as determined as ever, the pair were back in front less than 100 yards from the finish and won by three-quarters of a length from Blair Perrone.

"It was a good performance to get back up and win wasn't it?" joked a joyful Walsh.

"He's got some turn of foot and that's with me flapping up and down on him. I was nearly off him. He just pinged it and pitched.

"I think he's a little bit the forgotten horse, with the bookmakers anyway, and when you look at what he's done, he's beaten Thistlecrack and Shaneshill at Punchestown, and in the Martin Pipe he beat Roi Des Francs, the form is rock solid."

Mullins added: "That was extraordinary from both horse and rider.

"I thought he was gone and a lot of lads would have pulled him up.

"It was an extraordinary piece of riding and an extraordinary feat by the horse.

"Ruby said when he gave him a squeeze he took off and was going to the fence too fast.

"To do what he did, you wouldn't believe that could happen.

"I thought Ruby was going to go out the side-door and it's harder to ride with one iron than without the both - certainly Ruby's experience paid off.

"That performance was good enough to run in the Arkle but he's possibly more likely to go for the JLT (Novices Chase)."

Killultagh Vic, bred at Rademon Estate, Co Down by Rose's husband Frank Boyd, helped make history last year when it won the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle, giving Mullins a record eight winners at a Cheltenham Festival.

The Ulster horse's latest success at Leopardstown was even more memorable.

Belfast Telegraph

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