Jockey Sam Waley-Cohen paid an emotional tribute to his younger brother Thomas after winning the Grand National on Noble Yeats in what can be his final race. Thomas tragically passed away in 2004 after an almost decade-long battle with bone cancer.
“I can not say anything,” Waley-Cohen told ITV Racing after the race. “It is a dream. I could not consider it. I’ve got to say thank yous, since it’s my last ever ride, to dad, unwavering belief and love.
“Over 23 years, never a cross word, nothing but a dream, it has been a love affair. To my wife, long-suffering, they aren’t all good days on this sport and he or she’s all the time there to support me.
“That’s beyond words. It’s a fairytale, it’s a fantasy. Just stuffed with love, happiness and gratefulness.
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“Being on the appropriate horses, getting the luck and having the sun out… I do think Thomas is sitting on my back. I ride together with his name on my saddle. Lately are family days. Truthfully, you could not make it up could you?”
Waley-Cohen’s father, Robert, was understandably emotional after the race, telling ITV: “It is a dream come true. Just fabulous. It is a team and thank God it has really worked. He has a lot dedication and puts in a lot exertions.”
“For Sam to exit on a win like that, you could possibly not write it,” Mullins told BBC Radio 5 Live. “I used to be probably more confident a month ago than I used to be today.
“It’s the stuff of dreams. Today was the plan. It is sweet when a plan comes together.
“I didn’t get to see much of him early doors but going away from the stands here I took a breath since it was an ideal position. That last circuit all the pieces appeared to fall into place. I do not know when it will register.”