A man whose day job is running a chain of dentists lit up horse racing yesterday by becoming the first amateur jockey in 30 years to win chasing's most illustrious prize.
Sam Waley-Cohen won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on his mount, Long Run, beating a field including three previous winners in one of the most compelling and emotional races of the modern era.
Long Run is the youngest Gold Cup winner since 1963 and, in beating Denman and Kauto Star, was immediately hailed as one of the best in nearly 50 years.
Waley-Cohen, 28, dedicated his success to the memory of his brother, Thomas, who died of cancer in 2004, aged just 20. He even had his brother's initials stitched into his saddle.
In his spare time, Waley-Cohen embarks on various adventures to try to make up for the lack of opportunities afforded to Thomas. He recently climbed Mont Blanc carrying a pair of skis, which he then put on to make the descent.
It is Waley-Cohen's record, though, in competing with the likes of Tony McCoy and Ruby Walsh in some of the sport's biggest races, that qualifies him as a true Corinthian throwback. Long Run started yesterday at 7-2 favourite, after winning the King George VI Chase at Kempton. "This is a very emotional moment," Waley-Cohen said. "It's a great family event and Thomas would have been very much a part of it. But that's what has been so wonderful about the journey here. There has been an amazing amount of goodwill. So many people have an emotional stake in the horse." Waley-Cohen could now achieve an unprecedented double by winning the Grand National on another of the horses which are owned by his father, Robert. Oscar Time is already one of the favourites for the big race at Aintree next month.Reuse content