Mark Walsh steps in for Coral Cup triump

Wed 14th Mar 2018, 15:24

photoBleu Berry (yellow cap) jumps the last
©Healy Racing Photos
Mark Walsh was a late replacement on the Willie Mullins-trained Bleu Berry and he produced his mount perfectly to beat Topofthegame in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham.

The 20-1 winner was supposed to be ridden by Paul Townend, but he switched to Max Dynamite following Ruby Walsh's injury in the preceding RSA Insurance Novices' Chase.

Walsh came from the rear of the field to deny Sam Twiston-Davies on the giant Topofthegame in the final few strides.

Gordon Elliott's Barra was another who made late headway to claim third, while William Henry, sent off the 8-1 joint-favourite along with Max Dynamite, was fourth in the hands of teenager James Bowen.

Walsh, who was claiming a first Cheltenham winner, said: "You don't want to ride a winner like that and Paul would have rode him before getting on Ruby's horse, but I'm just delighted to be called up by Willie to ride him.

"They went a nice gallop and everything went to plan.

"We got the splits, he winged the last, and had enough petrol in the tank."

Successful owner Luke McMahon said: "Fair play to Mark Walsh, he gave him a brilliant ride.

"We've always liked him (Bleu Berry) but he just had a few interruptions at the start of the season.

"It's fantastic."

Might Bite To Prove His Worth Next Season

There is not much attention given to national hunt racing in the summer months, by punters or by the media. It is, of course, understandable given that our attention is focused on the flat season: the action at Royal Ascot, the Classics and the rest of the elements that define the summer racing season. Some punters might have a dabble at an ante post bet for Cheltenham next year, but by and large we forget about it until the autumn.