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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 March, 2004, 20:31 GMT
Walsh claims top award
Ruby Walsh
Ruby Walsh's big Cheltenham win came on Azertyuiop
Ruby Walsh's double on Thursday saw him pip his rivals to take the Daily Telegraph trophy for the leading rider at the Cheltenham Festival.

Before the start of racing on Thursday, Walsh had only recorded one win on Azertyuiop in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

But he made up for that with victories on the 4-1 favourite St Pirran in the Grand Annual Challenge Cup and on the 7-1 joint favourite Sporazene in the Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle.

Richard Johnson, Jim Culloty and Timmy Murphy all finished with two winners apiece.

Walsh said: "It's great to be top rider," and when asked what it meant to him, he added: "A couple of winners mean a bit more, but I suppose it is a great honour.

"I am very happy to have three winners. Azertyuiop was definitely the highlight."

Earthmover's win was a highlight
Trainer Paul Nicholls

Walsh's efforts helped Paul Nicholls secure the Cheltenham Festival trainers' title for the second time.

As well as Walsh's winning rides, Earthmover rolled back the years for the Ditchdeat handler with a 14-1 win in the Foxhunters Chase under the guidance of Rilly Goschen.

Nicholls, who was top trainer in 1999 with three winners, said: "It's been a great week, a fantastic week. Top trainer and Ruby is top jockey.

"Earthmover was the highlight - I really enjoyed that. It has been a great team effort.

"The only disappointment was Thisthatandtother. He's won four or five and never made a mistake, but he did that on the day and he might learn from it."

Jonjo O'Neill finished second to Nicholls with three winners while Martin Pipe and Philip Hobbs had two apiece.



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