Australia v Ireland Jumps Racing Challenge at Ballarat on Sunday

Katie Walsh will headline an elite team of Irish riders taking on Australia’s best in Sunday’s Australia v Ireland Jumps Racing Challenge at Sportsbet-Ballarat in Australia.
Walsh is returning to Australia for the first time since competing in the 2008 Challenge and will be joined on the Irish team by leading Australian-based Irish riders John Allen, Shane Jackson and Martin Kelly.
Australia will be represented in the three-race series by Steve Pateman, Brad McLean, Braidon Small and Paul Hamblin.
The Challenge takes in the QLS Maiden Hurdle (3,400m), the Hygain Maiden Hurdle (3,400m) and the Hygain Steeplechase (3,200m) with points awarded only to those riders competing in the Challenge.
Points are awarded according to the official race placings as follows; First – 8 points, Second – 4 points, Third – 3 points, Fourth – 2 points, Fifth to Last – 1 point. Points won by non-competing riders will be forfeited and as such will not count towards the final Challenge result.
Australia has proven a happy hunting ground for Walsh, who has registered two wins, three seconds and a third from six Australian rides, including a victory in a 3,212m Steeplechase at Moonee Valley aboard former Patrick Payne-trained galloper Hoplite.
Walsh said she was thrilled to be selected to represent Ireland in the Challenge, and to have the opportunity to chase Grand National success only 12 months after her older brother Ruby partnered Bashboy to a famous win in the race.
“I’m really looking forward to it, it’s been a long time since I first visited back in 2008,” Walsh said.
“To win the Grand National (Steeplechase) would be absolutely brilliant.
“I’ve been lucky enough to ride the winner of an Irish Grand National and ridden in an English Grand National a couple of times and have finished third in that. It’s an honour to come over and ride in this race and I really appreciate the rides I’m getting.”
Racing Victoria Jumps Racing Manager, Paul Bloodworth, said he was thrilled that Walsh had accepted an invitation to ride in Victoria this weekend.
“We are delighted to have a rider of Katie’s calibre coming to Victoria to take part in Sunday’s Grand National Steeplechase, which greatly enhances the profile of the race meeting, both here and abroad,” Bloodworth said.


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