Widow of racehorse owner brings his ashes to Cheltenham in handbag to see horse win

Ruby Walsh on Klassical Dream celebrates winning the first race of the day. Picture: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

The widow of a late racehorse owner ensured her husband was present to see the five-year-old horse race to victory at Cheltenham today.

Trained by Willie Mullens and with Ruby Walsh in the saddle, Klassical Dream provided Mullins with a record sixth victory in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle, the first race of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival.

The winner was running in the colours of late owner John Coleman.

"It's a very poignant victory for us, as John had a lot of cheaper horses with us and then he retired and sold his business and said 'here is a few quid, go and buy me a Cheltenham horse' and this was the horse," said Mullens.

"[John's wife] Jo and his family are here, which is fantastic.

"It is a very emotional victory for us, which is fantastic. I'm delighted it happened for his family."

Coleman's widow, Joanne, spoke after the race and revealed she had brought her husband's remains to the race.

"It's a dream come true," Joanne told ITV.

"My husband passed away in July and it was his dream. 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.

Following his 59th victory at the Cheltenham Festival, Ruby Walsh paid tribute to the late Mr Coleman.

"This is what he dreamt of and he's not here to see it."

John Coleman passed away in July 2018.

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