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Walsh hails O'Connor as the 'best amateur in my lifetime'

Hardwired and Derek O'ConnorHardwired and Derek O'Connor
© Photo Healy Racing

Television pundit and jockey-turned-trainer Ted Walsh tipped his hat to another former champion amateur rider Derek O'Connor today, as the pair combined to win Punchestown's Best Bet At BetVictor (Q.R.) Handicap Chase with frustrating Hardwired (9/1).

Racing with the leaders, O'Connor sent Hardwired to lead jumping the second-last and the pair held on to beat He Fitz In by four and three-parts of a length.

Hardwired was previously beaten 62 lengths at Kilbeggan in August and Walsh, in awe of the winning ride, said “Derek O’Connor is in a league of his own - I’m 73 and there has never been a better amateur in my lifetime.

“This horse got a great ride from Mikey O’Sullivan to win at Kilbeggan but as amateurs go, and I remember Conny Vaughan, Billy McLernon, Francis Flood and lads from my era and right though to now, there has never been a better amateur over fences than Derek O’Connor.

“I don’t remember Bunny Cox who was supposed to be brilliant and Philip Fenton was another brilliant amateur and Jamie Codd.”

Jockey O'Connor was Champion Amateur Jockey in 2003/4 and has been Champion Point-to-Point rider on 11 occasions, the latest being in 2015.

Quotes from Alan Magee

About Tom Weekes
A lifelong racing fan, Tom began writing point to point reports in 2002 and has reported for irishracing.com since 2003, when he joined Irish Racing Services - since taken over by the Press Association. Has ridden a point to point winner and won the 2018 Irish Field Naps Table.