Grade 1 first for Katie Walsh

Katie Walsh enjoyed her first Grade 1 success when steering Blow By Blow (14/1) to win the G1 INH Flat Race for trainer Willie Mullins by three and three-quarter lengths from Moon Racer.

Walsh said: “I was meant to ride Battleford but he was pulled out this morning and I was half-tempted to ride Very Much So, but Willie said ‘no Blow By Blow’ and I think he knows better than anyone. I am delighted just to be on the right one.

“Blow By Blow is as tough as nails. I was looking for company and Patrick said don’t be afraid to wind it up down the back. I knew Jamie’s horse (Codd on Moon Racer) had plenty of toe and I wanted to get him on the backhand before we turned in. Blow By Blow rallied for every thump and as soon as Jamie came up besides my I got the fear of God into me and said I can’t let this happen.

“I have ridden in this race a lot of times and it is great to win a Grade 1 – I have never won one before. I am massively over the moon.”

Mullins added: “He picked up every time Moon Racer came to him. Katie was very good and very strong and I didn’t realise it was her first Grade 1, it’s great for her.”

The Rebecca Curtis-trained Irish Cavalier, who ran at both Cheltenham and Aintree this year, rounded off his season on a high with victory under top-weight in the €100,000 Guinness Handicap Chase at 7/1.

“He’d been thrown in the deep end a bit this year,” said Welsh-based Curtis. “Everything was right for him today – the two and a half mile trip, as well as the ground. He loves this track. The only worry was that he’d been to Cheltenham and Aintree.

“He ran twice here last year. He ran well in the Grade 1 but was bucking and squealing afterwards so we ran him in the novices’ handicap chase and he came second. He deserves a break and we’ll look at the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham for him next season.”

Jockey Jonathan Moore added: “Ciaran O’Toole (jockeys’ agent) got me the ride and it was a great training performance from Rebecca Curtis to get this horse back from Cheltenham and Aintree. It has been a great year for me and this is the icing on the cake.

“He looked like he might run on and take fourth at Aintree last time but he fell at the last. I have ridden for Rebecca before – I finished third in a handicap chase for her and J P (McManus) at Navan and I also rode At Fisher’s Cross at Aintree, who I ride again tomorrow.

“I was probably sixth or seventh early on and his jumping brought him everywhere. I asked him lots of questions and he answered them with exuberance. Turning into the straight, I couldn’t believe how well he was travelling. He winged the second last and when I asked him again at the last, he just answered.”

The concluding Listed Weatherbys Ireland European Breeders Fund Mares Flat Race was won by Augusta Kate (100/30) for trainer Willie Mullins, enjoying his third success of the day, and his son Patrick by one and a half lengths for the Masters Syndicate whose seven members include Lee Westwood, Ant & Dec and Alan Shearer.

Patrick Mullins said: “Augusta Kate is as tough as teak and has been to Cheltenham, Punchestown and Aintree. Steph, who rides her out every day, deserves a lot of credit.

“Turning in, I wasn’t sure I would get there but once I got down and stuck into her, she was always going to get there. When she got to the front, she was pricking her ears.

“It’s fantastic for the owners. It’s a pity Alan Shearer wasn’t here because I would like to have met him! Lee Westwood was here and came to the yard this morning. He is a lovely fella. It’s just great for Andrea and Graham Wylie and everyone involved.

“She is not the biggest, I just about squeeze on to her, but it just shows you that it is the size of the heart that counts.”

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