Katie Walsh embraces new role as Aintree ambassador
Brother Ruby may have been leading jockey at the Cheltenham Festival for eight of the last 10 years, but Katie Walsh is relishing her new role as Ladies Day ambassador at Aintree for the Grand National meeting.
With anticipation mounting and bookmakers like Coral already starting their coverage of the three-day event, which takes place at the Merseyside venue between April 9-11, Walsh, who began her own career in the saddle in 2003, recently blogged about this new position.
“I was last at Aintree back in December for the Betfred Becher Chase Day,” wrote Walsh. “I didn’t have a ride that day instead I was embracing my new role as a Ladies Day ambassador for the Jockey Club.
“After doing a few interviews in front of the camera, I watched Sam Waley-Cohen bring Oscar Time to victory from the unfamiliar view of the Aintree Grandstands. I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t want to have been on the other side of the barriers that day, but it was nice to see a race like that from a different perspective.
“It was also the first time I’d seen the finished versions of the Ladies Day advertising campaign that I’d last been to Aintree for to film back in July. It’s certainly not every day you’re stood in front of a 30-foot banner of yourself, especially not whilst in a dress… and on a horse!
“I can’t say I ever expected to see myself doing something like that, but then if I’d have based my career around eventualities that I’d have expected, I wouldn’t have achieved half of what I have to date! The advert looked great and it made me remember the special connection I have with this prestigious racecourse.”
Reminiscing about her previous exploits at the Merseyside racecourse, Walsh added: “Coming third aboard Seabass in the 2012 Grand National is a moment that I will never, ever forget. It still doesn’t feel real (even three years down the line!) when I say that I have finished higher than any other female jockey, competing in the Grand National.”
Check out her performance with BBC commentary from that day below:
“I’d love to be able to write down exactly how it feels coming round the Elbow to the roar of over 70,000 people, yet if I tried, I don’t think I’d do it justice,” Walsh continued. “One thing I can say is that Aintree provides a spotlight on to this sport like no other racecourse in the world, in my opinion.
“From April 9-11 this year, this famous course has will have a feel to it that can be compared to no other, and not just on the Saturday!
“Ladies Day has always been one of my favourite days in the racing calendar, both as a spectator and a jockey. It combines the thrill and excitement of racing with the compel and intrigue of fashion, yet it does so with outstanding results.
“I feel privileged to be a Ladies Day ambassador in a year which sees so many exciting introductions and changes. It is a day that defines both racing and fashion and I feel the advertising campaign that I’m a part of, gives an exciting preview of what is to come this April.”