Wednesday 19 December 2018

Papillon Millennium Grand National Winner for Ted Walsh

The predictably exciting 2000 Grand National went straight into the extensive annals of competitive English equine sporting as the only keynote international race to be won by a father-son combination. The event’s most triumphant horse was the then 9-year-old Papillon…a top mount actually piloted by the immensely talented Ruby Walsh and properly trained by his dad - Ted Walsh. 

Thus, quite surprisingly, the very closely blood-related aces emerged winners as jockey and trainer respectively. And unbelieving gasps of wonder rend the air…describing the utter bafflement following both child and parent coming first in the same, star-studded horse-riding combat! 

Again, the keenest of equestrian gaming enthusiasts will also easily recall the fact that it’s the same mercurial rider who added an extra feather to his already well-decorated cap by winning the 2005 National title on Hedgehunter. 

Achieving a strikingly rare first, both the senior and junior Walsh really enjoyed their fair share of worldwide fame – one for a majestic ride like no other, the other for having so painstakingly coached the year’s most illustrious galloper. 

This is however not to say that the runner’s excellent performance had in any way eluded the prior predictions of accomplished eyes. An extensively trusted 10-1 shot, Papillon’s near-flawless jump in preceding championships had inspired a huge deal of previous fanaticism at home and abroad...earning the gallant ride thousands of decent success predictions as a highly promising second-favorite. 

As close watchers at the legendary racecourse could well attest, the day’s eventual winner didn’t attain such overwhelming Aintree accolades without creditable opposition from other tough-competing fighters. For instance, Mely Moss gave him a sure deal of untiring heat as the two leading contesters careered vigorously past the final straight. 

Nevertheless, the Charlie Egerton-trained candidate proved hardly capably of undoing his more energized rival, and only managed to scoop a soothing second place. 

Due to its eminent coincidences, the 2000 National version is commonly viewed as one of the most prominent Grand National tournaments of all time. The former event obviously earned an especially greater measure of extra publicity when its increasingly adored champ again defeated all Aintree frontrunners to claim the 2005 edition’s title. 

Considering Papillon’s matchless dash – marked by uncharacteristic jumps and gallops on both occasions – overwhelmed fans and foremost sports opinion makers remained sufficiently convinced that the twice-winning marvel was easily the finest runner of the young millennium. 

Another contributor to the 2000 National enigmatic reminiscence is the very outstanding Ted Walsh himself…possibly, too, Europe’s most victorious head of a richly talented racing family. You’ll call to mind the well-known circumstance that the lucky model racer doubles up as the proud lead proprietor of an amiable family-based horse-training enterprise located at Kill County Kildare. 

And, in addition to all the aforementioned accomplishments detailed hereinabove, the gifted patriarch has sired a respectable line of other naturally endowed riding heavyweights. 

The now-elderly racecourse veteran’s unmistakable scions comprise his joint prizewinning replica Ruby Walsh, renowned Irish racetrack official Jennifer Walsh, and the enduring female trier who has enjoyed boundless accolades in many men-dominated steeplechases. All these miscellaneous exploits by the revered Teds instantly morph into something of an entire phenomenon once you throw in the founding geek’s uncountable achievements in preceding nationwide competitions. 

A good case in point is that old fellow’s unblemished scorecard as a consummate amateur entrant in several Irish showdowns some years ahead of the striking twin wins at the exact unfolding of the millennium. 

Consequently, thousands of sharp-brained fanatics blessed with particularly sharp memories can with complete awe and adoration recollect senior Ted’s four-time Cheltenham triumphs…all of which impossible feats the heroic horse connoisseur dramatically easily accomplished against scores of insufferably skillful opponents in historic equestrian battles both in Ireland and England. 

Another maybe less remarked uniqueness that made 2000’s continentally followed game is that the first and second-finishing horses were both nine years old. That was the new face Norman Williamson’s second-placed Mely Moss, an initial 25-1 favorite trained by Charlie Egerton.

Elsewhere, Robbie Supple – an indeed demonstrably ‘supple’ jockey of no middling riding prowess – managed to steer Niki Dee to a third-place finish, a conspicuous 7 lengths behind. Philip Hide’s evident hardwork didn’t leave him unrecognized, either; for his strapping Brave Highlander completed fourth, oh-so precariously trailed by the world-reckoned Adrian Maguire on Addington Boy…with a mere neck between the two closely tussling pairs! 

And now here’s a closing tidbit to keep avid gaming-loving aficionados thinking about their mainstay pastime longer than this piece could stretch…well, it’s worth keeping in mind that it was Ted Walsh happened to be the very first of the deafeningly thundering cheerers to extend Ruby Walsh a warm, congratulatory handshake immediately he crossed the winning line! 

Eyes became at once transfixed upon the simultaneous title-winning father and son, the mutually thankful heroes patting each other’s back for the suddenly mesmerizing, once-in-trillion act…a shrilly inspiring image that the stunned onlookers couldn’t even wildly hope to behold again in their lifetime.