Waterfall jockey McGrath: Victory at Cheltenham was extra special because my parents were there

Waterfall jockey McGrath: Victory at Cheltenham was extra special because my parents were there
Beware the Bear winning jockey Jerry McGrath with mother Maureen and father Pat after win.Picture: Healy Racing.

WATERFALL jockey Jerry McGrath enjoyed a fairytale success aboard Beware The Bear in the Ultima Chase on the first day of Cheltenham. 

After the race, the Cork rider enjoyed an emotional embrace in the parade ring with his parents.

“I’m over the moon and this win is for my parents, Patrick and Mary, who are here today," McGrath said. 

"There were times when things weren’t going well over here but they kept encouraging me through the tough times. 

Picture: Healy Racing.
Picture: Healy Racing.

"Une Artiste was my last winner seven years ago but my parents weren’t here on that occasion. 

"So this really is very special.” 

McGrath was providing his boss Nicky Henderson with his first winner of this year's Cheltenham Festival.

The nine-year-old took control on the back straight but had to hold off a late fightback from Vintage Clouds to follow up a victory here on New Year's Day at odds of 10-1.

McGrath revealed that a change of tactics from Henderson at the last minute made the difference for his gelding.

"The plan originally was to go and make the running, but that was then changed at the last minute to give him room," McGrath said. 

"As it came so late there was no time to think about it, so I kept him out of the way, went wide and avoided any trouble. 

"He jumped exceptionally well and gave his all out there.

"It's been seven years since I last won here, and I didn't really appreciate it at the time," said McGrath. 

"It's hard to get rides here, let alone winners, and I'm grateful for the faith everyone has had in me."

Trainer Henderson added: " I’m delighted for Jerry who is a big part of our team. 

"This horse really enjoyed it out there. There was plenty of daylight and he had time to find himself. 

"A win on day one makes an enormous difference and I'm delighted with him."

Paul Townend also had a brilliant win, while Articulum finished a very creditable third for Carrigtwohill trainer Terrence O’Brien on a dramatic opening day to the Cheltenham Festival.

Townend romped to a 13 lengths victory in the Arkle aboard Duc Des Genievres. 

The Lisgoold rider also finished runner up on Melon and Stormy Island.

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