Sam Waley-Cohen won the Randox Grand National at Aintree riding racehorse Nobel Yeats.
This was a fairy tale moment for anyone who follows racing as earlier this week the 39 year old amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen announced that he would be retiring following his ride in the Grand National.
Nobel Yeats was a 50-1 in the worlds most famous steeplechase race and what made the race even more special was the horse is owned by his farther Robert Waley -Cohen.
Speaking after the win jockey Sam said “It’s a dream. I couldn’t believe it. I’ve got to say thank you, as it’s my last ever ride, to my dad (Robert Waley-Cohen, owner), for unwavering belief and love. Over 23 years and never a cross word, never been anything but a dream. It’s been a love affair. To my wife, long-suffering, they aren’t all good days, there are bad days in this sport. It’s a fairytale, a fantasy. There’s a lot of love and gratefulness. It’s getting on the right horses and getting the luck. You couldn’t make it up, could you?”
Sam dedicated the win to his long lost brother Thomas who died from bone cancer back in 2004. Thomas has been a huge inspiration not just in Sam’s career but in the whole family’s interest in the sport. “It’s been a love affair. They aren’t all good days. There are bad days in this sport. But this is a fairytale. It’s a fantasy. I’m full of love, happiness and gratefulness. I do think Thomas is sitting on my back. I ride with his name on my saddle.
Nobel Yeats trainer Emmett Mullins said: “It was a long-term plan and it seems to have come off in the end somehow, I don’t know how! We were probably more confident a month ago. The closer we got to it, everyone else seemed to be talking up their chances and we went cold”
A proud Waley-Cohen senior added: “It’s a dream come true. I can’t speak, I shouted too much! You can’t go round without the horse but the horse can’t get round without the jockey. Sam used to ride the National on his rocking horse, that’s how far back it goes!”
Sam Waley-Cohen has had huge success as an amateaur jockey, by day he runs a successful dentist business. He is the only am amateur jockey to ride the winner of the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Long Run won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2011. He has also won 2 King George’s and 4 Grade ones.