The first day of The Cheltenham Festival, has seen both triumph and tragedy, lifting our emotions to the heights, and plummeting them to the depths at this grandiose race meeting. The sparky tough little mare Quevega trained by the great Irish trainer Willie Mullins, and ridden by Ruby Walsh, romped home in the Mares’ Hurdle race yesterday, to beat the record of Golden Miller, the great horse of the 1930s, who had five consecutive wins at Cheltenham. Quevega now holds the record for winning six times consecutively. She has earned her place in the history books of racing, and I hope we will see a statue erected for her on the course, alongside that of Golden Miller.
On a devastating note, just forty minutes previously, Our Conor, a great horse trained by Dessie Hughes and ridden by Daniel Mullins, tragically lost his life whilst running in the Stan James Champion Hurdle race; we mourn for him, and for those who loved this horse; a horse who gave his life for everything that was asked of him by his human counterparts. It has to be said however that the lack of respect jockey Ruby Walsh afforded this noble beast, by stating “horse are horses. you can replace a horse” at least, does Walsh no credit, and at best, makes one wonder whether he should be partnered with horses at all! The Animal/Human Interlink is patently missing here, at least from the human angle.