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8 March 2013
(You can catch Ruby Walsh every day during the Cheltenham Festival on Racing UK just after midday)
Cheltenham is such a magical place during the Festival and has provided me with a load of magical memories. My first winner there was in 1998 on Alexander Banquet – I was just 18 and an amateur, and some people say they don’t appreciate their first winner there but I sure did. It was incredible.
You can watch me discuss my favourite moments throughout Cheltenham week on Racing UK and the website boys have set up a competition for you to walk with me around Sandown on Bet365 Gold Cup Chase Day in April. Enter here by clicking here.
Hurricane Fly provided me with one of my best moments when we won the 2011 Champion Hurdle. I’d only just returned from a broken leg around ten days before and he travelled like a dream and battled all the way to the line.
I chose Hurricane Fly for this year's Champion because he’s won a Champion Hurdle before. Zarkandar’s form this season has been good but I was very impressed with Hurricane Fly this season, especially his win at Leopardstown.
He has been there and done it all. He was disappointing last year, but I think he is back to the horse he was in 2011.
He is quick enough to get involved in a sprint and how the race pans out will probably mean more to the others than it does to me.
Dodging Bullets also runs on Tuesday and has impressed me this season. He was a good fourth in the Triumph last year and he is a stronger horse this year. Pique Sous had done nothing wrong either. I will not decide who I will ride in the Supreme until we see how the entries pan out. Jezki and My Tent Or Yours both look ahead of the rest.
Pont Alexandre is a gorgeous horse. He has done nothing wrong. He beat Don Cossack first time out for Willie [Mullins] in a Grade One at Navan.
The last time he ran he won on horrible ground. I loved the way he quickened up in it. He jumps, he stays and there is nothing to dislike about him.
He doesn’t show a huge amount at home. He saves it for the racecourse, which is a good sign.
I would hope he will be a star in the future, although I am sure hurdling is a stepping-stone for his future over fences.”
“Far West showed something new the other day; it was a messy contest as Ascot which turned into a sprint.
In his three previous wins he won by staying so to show he can win by sprinting is an added string to his bow. He is very similar to Pont Alexandre in he doesn’t show a whole lot at home, but they are the ones you want. He is progressing nicely.”
The Gold Cup is an incredible race and it was always something I dreamed of winning until Kauto Star won in 2007. When he won again in 2009 when I rode seven winners it was just so surreal.
Silviniaco Conti’s development through the ranks this season has not surprised me. This time last year Paul’s [Nicholls] horses weren’t right and he certainly wasn’t right.
We missed Cheltenham with him and brought him to Ascot instead where he hosed up.
This year he has improved especially when he beat Long Run in the Betfair Chase.
Bobs Worth has done nothing wrong over fences, and has great form at Cheltenham.
Sir Des Champs is similar; he has improved all season including a nice win in the Hennessy. I am aware Silviniaco Conti needs to improve to win a Gold Cup.
Simonsig is the horse I am not riding who I would love to be on. I think he was so impressive the last time, not only would I like to ride him in the Arkle but I would take my chances against Sprinter Sacre on him, too.
Have a great week.
(Ruby Walsh was talking to Racing UK)