Walsh pride as daughter goes close to glory

TED Walsh was full of praise for his daughter Katie after she became the highest-placed female rider in John Smith’s Grand National history on Seabass.

Walsh senior had trained the nine-year-old to seven consecutive wins this season, and he was supported into joint-favouritism before the start of the Aintree spectacular. Close to the lead throughout, Seabass gave Katie Walsh the ride of her life and only gave way in the closing stages, passing the post in third behind Neptune Collonges and Sunnyhillboy.

The trainer admitted that for a short period he did think he could be about to train his second National winner, following on from Papillon in 2000, who was ridden by his son, Ruby.

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“The only way the result could have been better was if she’d managed to win it, but the horse acquitted himself well and was right there with a chance until the Elbow,” Walsh said. “Katie gave him a smashing ride every step of the way. There was plenty of pressure there on a young girl and plenty of eyes on her, but she came home with a big smile. It’s something she’ll have for the rest of her life.

“He jumped really well and I thought jumping the second-last he was going as good as anything if not a bit better. For a few strides I thought could this really be happening? But the other two were just better on the day and pulled away.”

Following the deaths of Synchronised and According To Pete, safety is back in the spotlight, but Walsh said: “I think it’s dreadful when a horse breaks its leg, I think it’s dreadful when a horse breaks its neck and I think it’s terrible when a horse receives an injury and has to be put down. But if you’re completely anti the National, which certain people are, they won’t be satisfied until there is no National.”