Looking back to Easter 2005, my win in the Irish Grand National on NumberSixValverde was probably one of the most bittersweet of my career.
The victory was one of what would eventually be three National triumphs that season, having already won the Welsh on Silver Birch before going on to win the English on Hedgehunter.
But at Fairyhouse on 28th March I’d beaten my dad’s horse Jack High, who had looked a long way down the finishing straight like he was going to win.
NumberSixValverde came at him very late. I was professional and had a job to do but I didn’t get much satisfaction out of that.
I know it’s an Irish Grand National but to get up and beat a horse trained by my dad definitely took a bit of the gloss off of it for me.
Whatever way you try and dissect it and put the emotions to one side, blood is thicker than water.
I had a job to do and I did it. But I would have preferred it if Marcus De Berlais was second and Jack High third. Not the other way around.
I was delighted for Numbersixvalverde’s trainer Martin Brassil. He primed the horse for the day and only had 10st 1lb on his back.
I remember having to race him quite hard after he made a mistake at the fourth-last which got him a little bit out of position and he had to rally then to come back to win.
He was a very good horse who went on to win the English National the following year, but I definitely got much more enjoyment out of riding Commanche Court to win the Irish National in 2000 for my dad and Burrows Saint for Willie Mullins last season.
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