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Press Release 16th March 2023 Cheltenham


Thursday 16th March

St Patrick’s Thursday ended appropriately with an Irish winner when Angels Dawn (10-1) won the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase (Sponsored by the JRL Group).

It was a first first Festival success for trainer Sam Curling and amateur jockey Pat King.

Sam Curling said: “It was brilliant. She was unlucky the last day in the race at Punchestown. She has always promised a lot and it is unbelievable for a small team like ours. We only have six horses for the track I’d say as we are nearly all point-to-pointers. We buy and sell a lot of horses and we sold Marine Nationale as that is our game.

“Alfie (Sweetnam, owner) could have sold her a few times along the way but he didn’t and he kept the faith. She jumps well and she loves that bit of extra distance. Him (Pat King) and Derek O’Connor ride all the point-to-pointers and I’m delighted for him to get a big winner. We didn’t know which way it was going to go but she is tough. You get as big of a buzz watching the horses go on and win for someone else.

“Once the rain came I was very confident. If she had won the last day she would have gone up in the weights but she didn’t. It looks that way now (that the last race was a blessing in disguise). She is in the Irish Grand National but I would say she wouldn’t get into that, but I’ve not looked much passed today. She could be one for the Grand National in the future as she will race on.”

Pat King said: “Unbelievable! I thought I would never feel it. That’s my first Festival ride. I’ve won at the October meeting, but I have never ridden here. Sam has played a big  part in my career recently and I’m delighted for him. I was  probably nearly at the end of riding because things had got very quiet for me, and I joined Sam and since then things have started up again. I’ve known him a long time - he’s married to my first cousin, but I knew him before that. He’s not far away from me; I hadn’t really been doing much, and I rang him one day and he said, look, come in, and if it works there’ll be a chance for you.

“He told me just to jump off in the first half and get a nice position. The mistake she made was my fault - he told me not to throw her at her fences and I did - but he had her well-prepared for today. I knew from a long way out she was going very well. I switched her wide four out and she got travelling a bit too much - I wasn’t supposed to be in front before the last, but all’s well that ends well. He had her spot-on for today. We did think she had a big chance today. It hasn’t sunk in yet.”

Gavin Cromwell, trainer of second placed Stumptown, said: "He ran a blinder and jumped really well throughout. Barry (O'Neill, jockey) has given him a fantastic ride as he had him in all the right places throughout the race but we bumped into one and that's racing especially at Cheltenham.

“He has had a real race there and we will wait and see how he comes out of it before we think about what's left of the season."

Barry O’Neill, rider of the runner-up Stumptown (7-2 Favourite), said: “I got a great run around and jumped very well. Angels Dawn just travelled better than me, I thought I had enough to get him at the back of the last but on the day he’s just had a bit more. It was a great run and I’d imagine he’d go for the Irish National now.”

Patrick Mullins, rider of the third-placed Mr Incredible (4-1), said: “We were too far back. He’s always a bit slow to start and then he got tapped for speed down the hill and stayed on. He’s ideal for the Grand National, he’s got a lovely weight there and the extra trip will suit him well.”

5.30pm Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Amateur Jockeys' Handicap Chase (Sponsored By JRL Group) 3m2f

  1. Angels Dawn 10-1
  2. Stumptown 7-2 Fav
  3. Mr Incredible 4-1
  4. Dunboyne 8-1


23 ran

Distances: nk, 5½, 7½

Time: 6m 52.09s

1st winner at The Festival for jockey Mr Pat King

1st winner at The Festival for trainer Sam Curling


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