Reports16 March 2023

'It's unbelievable for a small team like ours' - Angels Dawn grinds out a first festival win for connections in the Kim Muir

Angels Dawn
Angels Dawn: winner of the Kim MuirCredit: Patrick McCann

The man who produced Tuesday's Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner Marine Nationale enjoyed his own slice of Cheltenham Festival history when Angels Dawn battled to a neck success in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase.

Sam Curling is better known for his exploits in the point-to-point field and specialises in buying and selling young stock but made the right decision to hang on to Angels Dawn, who gave the trainer and rider Patrick King their first festival winners.

The 10-1 chance travelled strongly but was forced to fight off Stumptown in a bobbing finish to Thursday's finale, with the pair leading home another four Irish-trained runners. They included Mr Incredible, whose late charge eventually fizzled out into third place.

"It's unbelievable for a small team like ours," said Curling, who trains 70 horses between the flags but only six under rules. "We buy and sell horses, including Marine Nationale, and that's our game. You get as big of a buzz watching the horses go on and win for someone else.

"This is brilliant. She was unlucky when unseating at Punchestown last time out and has always promised a lot. She was given a really cool ride and she's tough – when the rain came I was pretty confident."

King tasted Cheltenham success when partnering Strictlyadancer to victory at the Showcase meeting in October 2021 but was striking on his first ride at the big festival.

"It's unbelievable! I thought I would never feel it," he said. "I was probably nearly at the end of riding because things had got very quiet for me, and I joined Sam and since then things have started up again. It hasn't sunk in yet."

The Kim Muir is often a useful guide to future Grand Nationals – Ballabriggs won this in 2010 before taking the Aintree race a year later – and Curling already has a trip to Merseyside in mind for Angels Dawn.

He said: "She's entered in the Irish National but probably won't get in. She'll race on and could be one for Aintree in the future."

Read these next:

'You forget how hard it is to win here' - Snowden delighted by You Wear It Well triumph 

'A dream come true' for Ben Harvey and John McConnell as Seddon gives them first Cheltenham Festival winners 

Redemption day for 'class horse' Envoi Allen in Ryanair as Shishkin's jumping lets him down 

Do you want £200+ of free bets for Cheltenham? Racing Post have got the best offers, all in one place. Visit to find out more.

Maddy PlayleDigital journalist
Published on 16 March 2023Last updated 19:56, 16 March 2023