Not content with being one of the best amateur jockeys in the business and also a Dentist, Sam Waley-Cohen added juggler to his résumé at the Punchestown Festival yesterday. Losing your whip in the final stages of a big race is not a situation any jockey wants to find himself in, but that’s exactly what happened to Sam in the closing stages of the Punchestown Festival Gold Cup. Onboard Long Run Sam Waley-Cohen was chasing down the Michael O’Leary owned Sir Des Champs when the whip slipped from his hand. As the whip flew behind him, Sam cooly placed his hand behind his back and caught it mid-air – It’s a move more often seen in a cocktail bar than a racecourse. With the whip securely back in his hand Sam went on to score a credible second place behind Sir Des Champs.
Talking to the Guardian newspaper Long Run’s owner, Robert Waley-Cohen said: “He was beaten by a better horse on the day and that’s the second time he’s beaten us, but I think that’s the best race he’s run for a long time. It might have been the change of scenery, but he showed a lot of determination. We’ll prepare for the King George again and make a plan for the second half of the season. He won’t run in France. He is certainly likely to get an entry in the Grand National.”
All being well Long Run will be a runner in the 2014 Grand National and no doubt Sam will be onboard hoping to better his previous rides where he finished fourth in the 2013 Grand National and second in 2011 race both on Oscar Time.