'It's unbelievable for a small team like ours' - Angels Dawn grinds out a first festival win for connections in the Kim Muir
- 1st22Angels Dawn10/1
- 3rd1Mr Incredible4/1
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."
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