THE WIDOW of a racehorse owner ensured her late husband was in attendance to see his five-year-old horse claim a famous win on the first day of Cheltenham.
Klassical Dream helped Irish trainer Willie Mullins secure a record sixth victory in the first race of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival, the Sky Bet Supreme Novice’s Hurdle.
Ruby Walsh was in the saddle for the win, which was made all the more poignant for the fact Klassical Dream ran in the colours of late owner John Coleman.
Coleman rarely missed Cheltenham festival, having attended the annual horse racing extravaganza for much of the past two decades.
He passed away back in July 2018 having never seen Klassical Dream race at Cheltenham.
His widow, Joanne, was determined to change that though.
Speaking to ITV after the race, she revealed she had brought her husband’s remains to the race in the hopes of fulfilling his dying wish and for a bit of luck.
"My husband passed away in July and it was his dream,” she said.
"John's ashes are in my handbag. He's not missed one for 20 years, so we brought him"
What a story as Klassical Dream won the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
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“He never got to see him run at all. This is just absolutely phenomenal.
“John's ashes are in my handbag. He wanted desperately to make this Cheltenham. He's not missed one for 20-odd years and we brought him.”
Walsh also paid tribute to Coleman following his 59th victory at Cheltenham.
"This is what he dreamt of and he's not here to see it."
The story came as part of an emotionally-charged day for Mullins, whose other horse Ballyward was fatally injured during the concluding National Hunt Challenge Cup.
The 9-4 favourite fell at the 17th of 25 fences and had to be euthanised.
A spokesman from Cheltenham Racecourse said: "Sadly Ballyward sustained an injury in the National Hunt Chase.
"They were immediately attended to by our vet team, who very sadly determined that it was necessary to euthanise them on welfare grounds.
"As animal lovers, we hate to lose any horse and of course we shall review this incident.
"Our thoughts are with the Ballyward's connections."