Brave little Annie 'delighted' by Ruby dedication after win
The young girl that jockey Ruby Walsh dedicated his big win to yesterday is little Annie Brennan - who has been given a good prognosis by doctors treating her for leukaemia, her dad has said.
Racing star Ruby won the Champion Hurdle on Day One at the Cheltenham Festival on Annie Power - but took time out to wish her well in an emotional interview afterwards.
"There's a little Annie in Ireland watching this Annie, and she'll be alright too," Ruby said in an interview.
Annie (7) first met the champion jockey when he visited Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin late last year. Her father, Tim Brennan, said that Ruby has kept in touch with the Kilkenny family since.
"Annie was diagnosed with leukaemia a week before Christmas and spent the Christmas period in Crumlin Hospital, and she got home on New Year's Day," Tim told the Herald.
Ruby had been in to visit the children in the hospital and, as he has three daughters of his own, Annie's case struck a chord with him. The little girl is a huge fan of Annie Power and Ruby, according to her dad.
"Annie is very comfortable around horses, because I'm around them all the time with work," he said. "Annie Power is her favourite horse, of course, obviously because they share the same name.
"A while ago, Annie Power won a race and our Annie drew a picture of her. I promised that I'd bring it around to Willie's (Mullins) stables and show it to them, and Willie said I should hang it on her door - which made our Annie very proud.
"Of course, Annie Power ended up eating the picture!"
Mr Brennan said that it was a special moment when Ruby took time out of the biggest day of his year to wish little Annie well.
"We were all watching the race on Tuesday when he won, and we were surprised when he dedicated the win to our Annie," he said. "It was fantastic. Annie was delighted to hear it too.
"Annie is three months into the chemo now, and she goes to school the days she's not getting treatment. Everything is going well and we have been given a good prognosis."