Cheltenham Festival: Ryan Hatch celebrates first Festival winner on Same Difference
The popular Ryan Hatch rode his first Festival winner of his short career and proclaimed: “It’s a magic feeling.”
A close pal of trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies’ son Sam and Willy, the 20-year-old gained his landmark success in spirited fashion aboard Same Difference in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase.
He punched the air with delight after the racecourse PA announced he had edged a photo finish after passing the post locked in battle with Super Duty, ridden by the experienced Derek O’Connor, to give the Twiston-Davies team their second winner of the meeting.
Hatch, based at Twiston-Davies’ stable in Guiting Power, said: “I just hoped I’d done enough and it’s magic feeling. When it was announced I’d won I didn’t know what to do with myself – it’s what you dream about.
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“I rode a winner here in October and I thought that was the best ever, but this is unbelievable.”
Sam and Willy were among the well-wishers as Hatch made his way back to the winner’s enclosure to receive his well-deserved plaudits.
Successful on The New One on Wednesday, Sam was thrilled to see his mate win the chance to taste victory on the greatest stage in jump racing.
“He gave the horse a peach of a ride,” he said. “He came to us when he was 16 and it’s amazing how much he has improved since. I’m delighted for him.”
Liam Treadwell pulled off a 50-1 shock in the Byrne Group Plate and afterwards admitted he had nearly walked away from the sport.
Winner of the 2009 Grand National aboard 100-1 outsider Mon Mome, the Tewkesbury-based jockey had considered his future for financial reasons.
But after riding Carrickboy to success for trainer Venetia Williams on Wednesday, he was pleased he decided to carry on.
“I’m delighted because 18 months ago my back was against the wall and I was tempted to walk away,” he said. “To be honest, it was financial as much as anything, because it costs a lot to trek around the country and I wasn’t making ends meet.
“We can forget that now because I’ve had a fantastic season and this has topped it off.
“I have come close to my first Festival winner in past years, but what a buzz I have had from this lad (Carrickboy) out there. I want to thank Venetia and the team because they have had a fantastic season and this make it even better.”
Big Shu stamped his authority on his rivals to clinch the delayed Glenfarclas Handicap Cross-Country Chase under Barry Cash.
Originally due to be held on Tuesday, the race was postponed due to a frozen track and then suffered a further delay yesterday while the injured JT McNamara was taken to Frenchay Hospital after being seriously hurt in an earlier race.
Turf Club chief medical officer Dr Adrian McGoldrick said: "He has been put in an induced coma and airlifted to the regional spine unit where he will be scanned."
Big Shu, trained by Peter Maher, had a decisive lead jumping the last fence and the 14-1 chance kept on to outpace runner-up Shakervilz.
The St Patrick’s Derby in aid of Cancer Research UK was won by Age Of Glory, owned, trained and ridden by Brian Bunyan from Ireland.