Ruby Walsh

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Ruby Walsh
Ruby Walsh, Cheltenham 2005
Occupation Jockey
Born (1979-05-14) 14 May 1979 (age 35)
Kill, County Kildare, Ireland
Career wins 2000+
Racing awards
Leading jockey at the Cheltenham Festival in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 & 2015
Significant horses
Big Buck's, Hurricane Fly, Kauto Star

Rupert "Ruby" Walsh (born 14 May 1979 in Kill, County Kildare, Ireland) is an Irish jockey. He is the second child, and eldest son, of former champion amateur jockey Ted Walsh and his wife Helen.[1]


Showing talent from an early age, Walsh won the Irish amateur title twice, in 1996/7 (aged 18) and 1997/8, before turning professional.[1] He won the English Grand National in 2000 at his first attempt, aged 20, on Papillon,[2] a horse trained by his father and owned by Mrs J Maxwell Moran.[1] Father and son then went on to win the Irish Grand National with Commanche Court the same year. In the 2004/5 season Walsh won three of the four Nationals: the Irish on the 2006 Grand National winner, Numbersixvalverde, the Welsh on subsequent 2007 Grand National winner Silver Birch, and the English on Hedgehunter. He rode Cornish Rebel in the Scottish, but was beaten a short head by Joe's Edge. However, he had earlier success in that race on Take Control in 2002 and he and Tony McCoy are the only jockeys currently riding to have won all four Nationals .

To date Walsh has ridden over 2000 winners including 41 winners at the Cheltenham Festival since his first win in 1998 on Alexander Banquet. These include the 2004 Queen Mother Champion Chase on Azertyuiop, the 2007 and 2009 Cheltenham Gold Cup on the favourite, Kauto Star[1] and two subsequent Queen Mother successes in 2008 and 2009 on the brilliant Master Minded. He also won both the 2006 Tingle Creek Chase and the King George VI Chase on Kauto Star. He repeated the King George feat, again on Kauto Star, in 2007 (just days after returning from injury), 2008 and 2009 when Kauto Star won impressively by 36 lengths. He reclaimed the King George VI Chase in 2011 on board Kauto Star after Long Run won the race in 2010. He won the Hennessy Gold Cup twice, in 2003 on Strong Flow, and in more recent times, 2009 with Denman. He also won the Whitbread Gold Cup twice, in 2001 and 2003 (the latter when it was run as the Attheraces Gold Cup), both times on Ad Hoc. In 2007, Walsh won the inaugural British Horseracing Board Jockeys' Order of Merit award.

To date Ruby Walsh has been Irish jump jockey champion 9 times. Walsh's recent dominance of the jockeys' championship in Ireland is all the more remarkable given that he had a unique riding arrangement with two powerful stables, one on either side of the Irish Sea. Based in Calverstown, County Kildare, where he lives with his wife Gillian, he rides predominantly for Willie Mullins in Ireland, and also spends a substantial proportion of his time riding in England for Somerset-based champion trainer Paul Nicholls, the former trainer of Kauto Star.[1] He also takes the occasional ride for his father, Ted, and a variety of other, mainly Irish, trainers.

In January 2007, Walsh achieved the fastest ever century of winners in Irish jumps racing history aboard Bluestone Lad at Gowran Park. He ended the 2006/07 season with a combined total in Ireland and the UK of 198 winners, higher than any other jockey from either country that year. (This total was later increased to 200 on the disqualification of two horses for positive tests to banned substances. In both instances, Walsh had ridden the subsequently-promoted runners-up.) He repeated this feat in 2007/08, riding his 200th winner on Andreas at Sandown on his penultimate ride of the season. He rode his 1,000th Irish winner, Rare Article, at Sligo in May 2008. In more recent times, he rode My Will into 3rd place in the 2009 Grand National behind 100/1 longshot Mon Mome.

At the 2009 Cheltenham Festival Walsh rode a record-breaking seven winners over the four days. On the second day of the 2010 festival he rode Sanctuaire to victory in the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices Handicap Hurdle and therefore became the jockey with the most wins in the history of the Cheltenham festival.

In March 2011, Walsh rode Hurricane Fly to victory in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, finishing ahead of Peddlers Cross and Oscar Whisky. It was Walsh's first victory in the feature race of the opening day at the Cheltenham Festival.[3]

After the 2015 Cheltenham Festival, Walsh is the Festival's most successful rider with 45 wins and got the leading rider's award for an ninth time in the last 12 years.[4]


Cheltenham Festival winners (45) [5]
Year Race Mount
1998 Champion Bumper Alexander Banquet
2002 Mildmay of Flete Handicap Chase Blowing Wind
2003 Arkle Challenge Trophy Azertyuiop
2004 Queen Mother Champion Chase Azertyuiop
Grand Annual Chase St Pirran
County Hurdle Sporazene
2005 Champion Bumper Missed That
Daily Telegraph Chase Thisthatandtother
2006 Supreme Novices' Hurdle Noland
William Hill Trophy Dun Doire
County Hurdle Desert Quest
2007 Royal & SunAlliance Chase Denman
Ryanair Chase Taranis
Cheltenham Gold Cup Kauto Star
2008 Queen Mother Champion Chase Master Minded
Ballymore Properties Novices' Hurdle Fiveforthree
Triumph Hurdle Celestial Halo
2009 David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle Quevega
Queen Mother Champion Chase Master Minded
World Hurdle Big Buck's
Ballymore Properties Novices' Hurdle Mikael d'Haguenet
RSA Chase Cooldine
Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle American Trilogy
Cheltenham Gold Cup Kauto Star
2010 David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle Quevega
Fred Winter Juvenile Novices' Handicap Hurdle Sanctuaire
World Hurdle Big Buck's
2011 Stan James Supreme Novices' Hurdle Al Ferof
Stan James Champion Hurdle Hurricane Fly
David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle Quevega
World Hurdle Big Buck's
Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle Final Approach
2012 World Hurdle Big Buck's
David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle Quevega
2013 Stan James Supreme Novices' Hurdle Champagne Fever
Stan James Champion Hurdle Hurricane Fly
David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle Quevega
Champion Bumper Briar Hill
2014 Supreme Novices' Hurdle Vautour
David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle Quevega
Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle Faugheen
2015 Supreme Novices' Hurdle Douvan
Arkle Challenge Trophy Un De Sceaux
Champion Hurdle Faugheen
JLT Novices' Chase Vautour

He was the leading jockey at the Festival in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015

Irish Jump Racing wins season by season[6]

Season Runs Wins Win %
1994/95 3 0 0
1995/96 77 8 10
1996/97 184 30 16
1997/98 230 41 18
1998/99 503 95 19
1999/00 239 33 14
2000/01 480 84 18
2001/02 444 84 19
2002/03 488 78 16
2003/04 360 70 19
2004/05 527 111 21
2005/06 422 90 21
2006/07 562 125 22
2007/08 547 131 24
2008/09 512 121 24
2009/10 424 128 25
2010/11 192 45 23
2011/12 358 85 24
2012/13 340 101 30
2013/14 403 122 30

GB Jump Racing wins season by season[6]

Season Runs Wins Win %
1997/98 14 2 14
1998/99 13 1 8
1999/00 8 1 13
2000/01 18 5 28
2001/02 68 13 19
2002/03 295 76 26
2003/04 294 62 29
2004/05 311 81 26
2005/06 236 69 29
2006/07 291 75 26
2007/08 229 69 30
2008/09 252 69 27
2009/10 234 69 29
2010/11 106 26 25
2011/12 221 55 25
2012/13 211 57 27
2013/14 25 7 28


Like many jump jockeys, Walsh has suffered a number of serious injuries, the worst of which was a broken leg sustained in 1999 at Pardubice in the Czech Republic, a course he was visiting in order to compete in the famous Great Pardubice Steeplechase. He later broke the same leg while schooling a horse and was out of action for a total of five months that season, but recovered in time to partner Papillon to win his first Grand National.

Walsh has also fractured his wrist twice, dislocated one hip and fractured the other, cracked his elbow, dislocated both shoulders and suffered cracked and badly bruised vertebrae. A fall at the Paddy Power meeting at Cheltenham in November 2008 resulted in Walsh having his spleen removed in an emergency operation.[7] He returned to the saddle merely 27 days later.

Walsh fractured his left ankle during a fall from the ill-fated Imperial Hills, trained by Willie Mullins at Killarney in May 2009. During his time off he was present to saddle Sesenta for Willie Mullins in the Ascot Stakes at Royal Ascot.

During the run-up to the 2010 Grand National he broke his left arm after a fall from Celestial Halo. His horse fell and they both seemed to have got away unscathed, but a horse racing behind them landed on his arm while he was on the floor, breaking it in two places.

As in 2010, he suffered an injury in the same race in 2012 after a fall from Zarkander which ruled him out of the 2012 Grand National. Both he and Zarkander seemed to be ok after the fall, but after visiting the medical room after making his way back to the jockeys room, the doctors ruled that he was not fit to race on On His Own.

On the last day of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival Walsh sustained a compound fracture of the humerus in a fall in the Triumph Hurdle.[8]

Trainer Split[edit]

In May 2013 it was announced that Ruby Walsh and Paul Nicholls split however they both insist they parted on good terms and Ruby would continue to ride some of his horses in the future.[9] This will enable Ruby to have more rides with Willie Mullins.

Personal life[edit]

Ruby became a dad for the first time when his wife Gillian gave birth to a baby girl, Isabelle, in October 2009.

  • His sister Katie Walsh is also one of the top female jockeys.
  • His brother Ted Walsh Junior is married to female jockey Nina Carberry.

References in Popular Culture[edit]

Ruby Walsh is mentioned in a song by the famous singer/songwriter Christy Moore called "The Ballad of Ruby Walsh," which appears on his album "Listen." The song is based on Christy's real life experience watching Ruby jockey at the Galway races.


Ruby Walsh featured in a TG4 documentary called "Jump Boys". It followed the journeys of Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty and Davy Russell over the course of the 2011/12 season. It aired on 28rh November 2012.[10] He has also occasionally worked as a racing pundit for RTÉ when he was injured.


  1. ^ a b c d e "goracing profile Ruby Walsh". 2013-10-14. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  2. ^ "'National: Quote ... unquote'". BBC News. 2000-04-08. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  3. ^ "Cheltenham Festival: Hurricane Fly wins Champion Hurdle". BBC Sport. 2011-03-15. Retrieved 2011-03-15. 
  4. ^ "Fly in fine fettle as Ruby looks to open Festival with a bang". Irish Independent. 11 March 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2014. 
  5. ^ "Horse Racing - Cheltenham Festival: Walsh and Jacob face lengthy injury lay-offs - Yahoo Eurosport UK". 2011-04-20. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  6. ^ a b "Jockey R Walsh Record By Race Type". Racing Post. 2011-06-02. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  7. ^ Horse Racing (2008-12-26). "Irreplaceable Ruby Walsh takes it all in his stride". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  8. ^ "Ruby Walsh suffers compound fracture in horror fall at Cheltenham". Irish Independent. 2013-03-18. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  9. ^ Chris Cook. "Jump-racing power shift leads to Ruby Walsh and Paul Nicholls split | Sport". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  10. ^ "Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty & Davy Russell TG4 Doc Nears Completion | The Irish Film & Television Network". Retrieved 2014-03-15. 

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