Ruby Walsh - every Tuesday
Ruby is one of the most consummate riders of his generation.
He has made great strides since he began his riding career in the mid-90’s. Crowned Champion Amateur Jockey in the 1996/7 and 1999/8 seasons, he turned professional shortly afterwards and gained the first of his six Irish Champion Jockey Titles in his first full season as a professional rider in the 1998/9 season.
It was near the conclusion of the 1999/2000 season that Ruby gained what will perhaps always remain his most memorable and satisfying win on the racecourse, with him riding his father’s Papillion to victory in the world’s most famous jumps race, the Aintree Grand National. He went on to win that great race once more on the Willie Mullins-trained Hedgehunter in 2005.
Kauto Star is perhaps the horse he will remember the most, as Paul Nicholls charge showed a rare mix of extraordinary talent, couple with durability and versatility. Initially considered a two-miler, Ruby won a Tingle Creek on him in 2006, but he went on to prove himself to be one of the greatest staying chasers of all time, winning an unlikely to be repeated five King George VI Chases and two Cheltenham Gold Cups. Perhaps the most memorable of all those amazing wins was his final success in the King George VI Chase in 2011.
Another Paul Nicholls charge that has been of particular note for Ruby is Big Buck's. He embarked on the most remarkable winning streak in National Hunt racing, winning 18 races in a row with Ruby in the saddle for all but two of those. Without question the highlights of that streak have been his four successes in the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
As remarkable as four successive wins at the Cheltenham Festival is, Ruby has already bettered that feat on the Willie Mullins-trained Quevega. The remarkable mare has now won five successive renewals of the David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle, though Ruby had to be at his brilliant best to get her up in the 2013 renewal after she had been hampered down the back straight.
As well as Quevega, Willie Mullins has provided Ruby with the best hurdler he has ridden, the mighty Hurricane Fly. While Walsh missed out on six Grade 1 wins on him due to injury at various times, he has been on board for no less than 10 Grade 1 wins, most memorably in his Champion Hurdle successes of 2011 and 2013.
Having persistently bounced back from serious injuries to prove himself to be better than ever, Ruby Walsh looks destined to become one of the greatest jump jockeys in the history of National Hunt racing.
Ruby Walsh - every Tuesday
We are not sure Un De Sceaux is up to it Tue 18 Feb
Big Buck’s is an easy horse to ride Tue 21 Jan
Boston Bob is likely to stick to hurdles Wed 8 Jan
The Fly is a horse of a lifetime Tue 31 Dec