Thursday 2 May 2019

Ruby Ruby Ruby (Great memories from Ruby Walsh)

Well, the day has finally come, another true great has hung up his riding boots after what was an astonishing professional career in the saddle. 

Ruby Walsh turned professional jockey after winning the Irish amateur title twice, first in 1996/97 and again 1997/98, with over 2500 winners to his name I will always remember Ruby and A P McCoy as the jockeys I enjoyed watching over the years. 

Who could forget him riding Papillon to victory in the 2000 Grand National, trained by his father Ted, this was Ruby’s first attempt of the famous Aintree Grand National fences which made the victory even more special, and he also added the Irish National the same year. 

His Cheltenham festival record speaks for itself with 59 winners since 1998. My mate Tony always backed Ruby Walsh in every single race at Cheltenham, and he always seemed to win, I should have done the same because I can never get a winner at Cheltenham. 

Who could forget the great Faugheen that Ruby won an incredible 10 times on, the highlight for me being the Irish Champion Hurdle back in 2016 when he made light work of Arctic Fire and won by 15-lengths or what about Kauto Star winning the 2009 Cheltenham Gold Cup after a faultless round of jumping and then powering home from the mighty Denman to win by 13-lengths in what was a partnership to rival any with Ruby winning on Kauto star 17 times. 

Big Bucks was another great horse that Ruby seemed to get the best out of and this time it was 18 victories with some great battles along the way including the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree back in 2011 when he again got the better of rival Grand Crus, confirming himself as the best-staying hurdler in racing history and I would say having Ruby on board helped him to that title. 

I couldn’t mention Ruby Walsh without talking about Annie Power, what a horse and what a jockey on board. Ruby must have got a great buzz from riding some of these absolute machines and Annie Power was another who gave him another 11 victories and I guess a bit of controversy, the race in question was the OLBG mares hurdle at Cheltenham in 2015 when Annie Power was odds on favourite and well in control until falling at the last fence. The keyboard warriors on social media came out in force saying Ruby had deliberately fallen off. 

What a load of bollox from mug punters who had lost a few quid, I would love to see them jump off a horse travelling at that speed, and as we know Annie Power went on to win the Champion Hurdle the following year. 

I guess I could go on forever about Ruby and his countless victories on some unbelievable horses, I think it was a perfect way to bow out with another great victory on the star of the future Kemboy in the Punchestown Gold Cup, with all his family watching. I wish him good luck for the future and am sure he will make a success of whatever he does and thanks for some great memories over the years. 

Thanks for reading.

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