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Hat-trick makes it Ruby Tuesday

ANOTHER Ruby Tuesday at Cheltenham.

ST PATRICK'S Day isn't until Sunday but the luck of the Irish is already in full flow, along with the champagne, at the famous racecourse.

They braved the cold and left the bookies steaming after day one.

Up to 13,000 Irish fans watched with delight as champion jockey Ruby Walsh romped home for three victories.

"I am changing people's lives today, but tomorrow they will be cursing me – that's racing," the jubilant jockey joked.

Ruby's wife Gillian Walsh became emotional in the parade ring following his hat-trick of triumphs.

"I'm absolutely thrilled, it's heart-stopping stuff," she told the Herald. "My heart was in my mouth, I wasn't sure that he was travelling that well early-on, but it's fantastic for him to come back and gain the Champion Hurdle."

Despite thousands having backed Ruby Walsh to do the treble, Irish punters failed to recreate anything near the success of millionaire stable lad Conor Murphy.

Fate

The Cork native was the toast of Cheltenham last year after winning €1.2m on a five-horse accumulator and he is back again this year on a holiday as he looks for more success.

Murphy said things are going well and he is looking forward to the end of the week when he will know his fate regarding this year's betting.

Embattled TD and horse-lover Michael Lowry was enjoying a successful day at the racecourse after securing a treble with bets on Hurricane Fly, Champagne Fever and Quevega.

The fun continued into late last night where many Irish racing fans, including actor David Keoghan, partied in the local bars.

Ryanair boss Michael O' Leary made his annual excursion, joined by wife Anita, as he congratulated Irish trainer Willie Mullins on his success.

SEE CHELTENHAM DIARY PAGE 20-21


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