Pat Taaffe rides first winner in eventful contest at Downpatrick

Mon 31 Aug 2020

Pat Taaffe – grandson and namesake of the rider of the legendary Arkle – partnered the first winner of his career in dramatic fashion at Downpatrick on Monday.

His mount, Walking Fame, trained by his father, Tom, had to survive a lengthy stewards’ inquiry after being first past the post in the A J C Group INH Flat Race.

Though travelling smoothly, Walking Fame did not help her rider by hanging to her left from a fair way out. It became more pronounced in the closing stages as Deo Bellator and I A Connect tried to challenge.

Both were hampered, with Walking Fame (9-4) eventually defeating Deo Bellator and I A Connect by a length and a quarter and a neck, with eight lengths back to the fourth.

Taaffe senior – who sent out Kicking King to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2005 – said: “She leaned to here (stands side) which a lot of horses do. He didn’t change his stick, but he’s won a length and a quarter which was in his favour.

“We like the filly – we wanted to try to win a bumper with her. She has a very good black-type page.

“She goes hurdling straight away, she jumps well, and she’s maybe a chaser.”

He added: “That’s Pat’s first winner and I’m very proud. He is going to college and will ride as an amateur and over jumps. He puts his time in and watches his weight and is mad keen.”

The stewards suspended Taaffe junior for seven days for careless riding and advised him that he must attend the Racing Academy and Centre of Excellence for one day’s tuition.

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