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  Saturday, 6 April, 2002, 22:39 GMT 23:39 UK
Culloty's perfect preparations
Jim Culloty celebrates his Gold Cup-Grand National doubl
Culloty was a late replacement for Jamie Goldstein
Winning jockey Jim Culloty reflects on his Grand National triumph, and a memorable double, with BBC Sport Online's Frank Keogh.

Grand National hero Jim Culloty has fulfilled his horse racing dreams in little over three weeks.

The jockey steered home Bindaree in the Aintree marathon just 23 days after winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup aboard Best Mate.

He became the first jockey to complete the Gold Cup National double in the same season since John Burke (Royal Frolic and Rag Trade) in 1976.

Culloty had talked BBC Sport Online through his National preparation on the eve of the big race and said Bindaree "definitely had a great chance of finishing in the first four."

Culloty rode Best Mate to victoy in the Cheltenham Gold Cup
Culloty triumphed on Best Mate in the Cheltenham Gold Cup

And after fulfilling that expectation in some style, he conceded: "I was quietly confident, but in the National you are never really confident because so much depends on luck."

His build-up to the race pretty much went like clockwork - a nice Chinese meal on the Friday night with some relatives and girlfriend Susie, followed by a couple of drinks at the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool.

Everything in the race itself also went smoothly, although Bindaree did have to contend with a loose horse, his stable-mate Beau, and fought back after being headed on the run-in by What's Up Boys.

"Bindaree jumped like a buck, and travelled great," said the 28-year-old Irishman as he watched a re-run of the race.

He was as brave as a lion

Jim Culloty

" The horse enjoyed it, which was the most important thing.

"I had a nightmare with the loose horse and it looked like I was beaten, but my horse tried his heart out. He was as brave as a lion."

The Killarney-born jockey only picked up the ride on Bindaree a few days before the race after Jamie Goldstein broke his leg in a fall.

"It's awful for Jamie, awful. That's racing - what goes around, comes around."

Sidelined

Stand-in success in the National is not unusual - Beau's jockey Carl Llewellyn has twice won the race after picking up the spare ride of an injured jockey.

Culloty knows the mental pain injury can bring, having been sidelined earlier in the season and missing out on Best Mate's ride in the King George VI Chase, where he finished second.

Admitting he was at "a low ebb" at that time, the jockey pulled into a pub in north Kerry back home in Ireland to watch that race, where regulars speculated if the surprise arrival was indeed Culloty.

Nearly four months on, and his chances of going unrecognised are receding all the time.

So, does the Gold Cup or the Grand National mean more to him?

"It's like asking a mother with two kids which is the favourite. To win both of them is unbelievable."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght
"A mighty tussle in the final run-in"
Winning jockey Jim Culloty
"I couldn't in my wildest dreams imagine winning the National"
The world's most famous steeplechase

Bindaree's triumph

Our man at Aintree

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See also:

05 Apr 02 | Grand National 2002
04 Apr 02 | Grand National 2002
15 Mar 02 | Cheltenham Festival
11 Feb 03 | Cheltenham Festival
Links to more Grand National 2002 stories are at the foot of the page.


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