William and Kate’s pal Sam Waley-Cohen dedicates Grand National win to late brother


Sam Waley-Cohen, 39, a pal of William and Kate, steered Noble Yeats to victory in his farewell ride in the world’s most famous steeplechase, and dedicated the win to younger brother Thomas, who had battled bone cancer for a decade

Jockey Sam Waley-Cohen celebrates after riding Noble Yeats to victory in the Grand National

Amateur rider Sam Waley-Cohen dedicated his fairytale Grand National win to his brother, who died from cancer 18 years ago.

Waley-Cohen, 39, a pal of William and Kate, steered Noble Yeats to victory in his farewell ride in the world’s most famous steeplechase.

He later dedicated the win to younger brother Thomas, who had battled bone cancer for a decade, the Liverpool Echo reports.

Sent off at 50-1, few would have expected Noble Yeats to strike in the extended four-and-a-quarter-mile showpiece – but he fended off the 15-2 favorite Any Second Now for a famous National success.

A jubilant Waley-Cohen – who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Long Run in 2011 – said: “It’s a fairy tale, it’s a fantasy.

“Just full of love, happiness and gratefulness.







Kate Middleton and Sam Waley-Cohen watch the racing in Cheltenham in 2008
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“I do think Thomas is sitting on my back, I ride with his name in my saddle.

“These days are family days, and you couldn’t make it up, could you?”

He continued: “Dad has always supported me unwaveringly, we’ve never had a cross word, it’s always been for fun. It’s been a love affair. To my wife, long-suffering, they aren’t all good days, there are bad days in this sport.

“We came here thinking the sun’s out, it’s your last ride – go and have a nice spin, no expectations. Just enjoy it.
“It’s a dream. I couldn’t believe it.”







The winning jockey is a friend of the future King and Queen
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Waley-Cohen, an amateur jockey who turns 40 next week, confirmed earlier in the week at Aintree that he will retire after Saturday’s big race.

Away from racing, Waley-Cohen is a successful entrepreneur and owns a chain of dental practices under the Portman Dentalcare umbrella.

“I think that might be my 40th time riding here and Saturday will be my last ride,” Waley-Cohen told ITV. “I’m going to retire, hopefully in the Grand National.

“I’ve had such an amazing time. I’m 40 this year and I couldn’t have imagined the days I’ve had and I’d love to do it at Aintree. The course has been so special to me, so it felt like this was the right moment.”

Mr Waley-Cohen’s younger brother Thomas died just days after his 20th birthday, following a battle with bone cancer which lasted almost a decade.







Jockey Sam Waley-Cohen rides Noble Yeats to victory in the Grand National at Aintree
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Liverpool echo)

“We gave the trophy for the Foxhunters’ in memory of my brother and it’s a course I’ve had so much fun at, it felt like the right moment,” he said.

“I’m lucky to have a ride on Saturday and that’s what’s kept me going year after year, trying to turn up at Aintree and compete in the big races and the Grand National is the biggest of them all.”

He added: “I’m going to miss it hugely but there are plenty of other things going on in life.

“People don’t believe he’s got a chance because he’s seven but if you take that away you have higher convictions so we’ll see if he can break that hoodoo.”

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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