As far as noteworthy names in racing go, few can come close to the honours list of Ruby Walsh. An incredibly talented jockey, Walsh has won just everything that one could hope to win as a jockey – and many honours more than once. Proving his staying power from the 90s where he was awarded the Irish amateur title at just 19 years of age, all the way to current day with his Australian Grand National Steeplechase win in 2015, he has more than earned his reputation and place in racing history. Add to that the incredible contribution that he makes to the sport in terms of his character and commitment, and it’s easy to see why Walsh has become such a beloved personality in the sport.
With 56 wins at the Cheltenham Festival alone, he has cemented himself as one of the most successful jockeys of all-time. Add in his dominance of the Irish National Hunt and Cheltenham Festival Best Jockey awards, and it’s easy to see why in the eyes of many that Ruby Walsh could be argued as the greatest of all-time.
Walsh’s career is illustrious to the point where it’s difficult to condense. He has been a consistent winner since he first appeared on the course in his teens. Having trained under his father and the likes of Maxwell Moran, his list of accolades are substantial and it’s easy to see why for many there are few in the industry who can match the quality and the class of Ruby Walsh. In addition to the aforementioned Cheltenham and Irish wins a highlight for the jockey has to be winning the Grand National on Papillon in 2000 aged just 20. There could be no doubting his abilities when he added a second Grand National win in 2005 on the Willie Mullins trained Hedgehunter. The very same season he won the Irish and Welsh national too.
At just 38 years old now, there’s plenty of life left in his career. Already in recent times he’s won the 2016/17 INH Champion Jockey award – so he’s certainly not quite ready for the pipe and slippers yet. Injuries have been an issue at times, including a fractured wrist the day previous to the 2016 Grand National, but Walsh isn’t one to let these thing bring him down. In 2016-17 alone he’s had 371 runs (and 131 wins) in Irish Jump Racing and 24 runs (6 wins) in GB. A busy man!
Major Wins – Irish National Hunt Champion Jockey (12 times), Leading Cheltenham Festival Jockey (11 times), Grand National (2000, 2005), Irish Grand National (2000), Irish National (2005), Welsh National (2005), English (2005), Scottish National (2002), Cheltenham Gold Cup (2007, 2009), Queen Mother Championship Chase (2004, 2008, 2009), Tingle Creek Chase (2006), King George VI Chase (2006), Hennesy Gold Cup (2003, 2009), Whitbread Gold Cup (2001, 2003), Champion Hurdle (2011), Australian Grand National (2015).