Ruby Walsh

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Ruby Walsh
Ruby Walsh, Cheltenham 2005
OccupationFormer Jump Jockey
Born (1979-05-14) 14 May 1979 (age 41)
Kill, County Kildare, Ireland
Career wins2756[1]
Racing awards
Irish National Hunt champion jockey in 1998/99, 2000/01, 2004/05, 2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16 & 2016/17

Leading jockey at the Cheltenham Festival in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017

Recipient of the Horse Racing Ireland National Hunt award in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008

Recipient of the International Jockey of the Year Lester Award in 2007, 2008 & 2010
Significant horses
Big Buck's, Hurricane Fly, Kauto Star, Annie Power, Douvan, Commanche Court, Papillon, Vautour, Faugheen

Rupert "Ruby" Walsh (born 14 May 1979 in Kill, County Kildare, Ireland) is an Irish former jockey. He is the second child, and eldest son, of former champion amateur jockey Ted Walsh and his wife Helen.[2] Walsh is the third most prolific winner in British and Irish jump racing history behind only Sir Anthony McCoy and Richard Johnson.[3]


Showing talent from an early age, Walsh won the Irish amateur title twice, in 1996/97 (aged 18) and 1997/98, before turning professional.[2] He won the English Grand National in 2000 at his first attempt, aged 20, on Papillon,[4] a horse trained by his father and owned by Mrs J Maxwell Moran.[2] Father and son then went on to win the Irish Grand National with Commanche Court the same year. In the 2004/05 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 following the retirement in 2015 of Tony McCoy, became the only jockey currently riding to have won all four Nationals. Walsh has one of the best Grand National records amongst current jockeys having won the race twice (2000, 2005), finished second once (2006), third once (2009) and fourth twice (2001, 2002).

To date Walsh has ridden over 2500 winners including 59 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[2] 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 Walsh has been Irish jump jockey champion twelve times – 1998/99, 2000/01, 2004/05, 2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17. Walsh's recent dominance of the jockeys' championship in Ireland is all the more remarkable given that for more than ten years 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. Formerly he also spent a substantial proportion of his time riding in England for Somerset-based champion trainer Paul Nicholls, the former trainer of Kauto Star.[2] Walsh also takes the occasional ride for his father, Ted, and a variety of other 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.

At the 2009 Cheltenham Festival Walsh rode a record-breaking seven winners over the four days. He equalled that record at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival. 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.[5]

He won his 2,500 race on Au Quart De Tour at Gowran park on 20 January 2016.[6]

As of 2019, Walsh is the Festival's most successful rider with 59 wins and has won the leading rider's award eleven times within the last fourteen years.[7] In August 2015 Walsh won the Australian Grand National on Bashboy.[8][9][10]

On 1 May 2019, Walsh announced his retirement from racing with immediate effect after a career spanning 24 years. The announcement was made after he rode Kemboy to victory in the Punchestown Gold Cup. It was the 213th Grade One win for Walsh. [11][12][13][14]


Cheltenham Festival winners (59)[15]
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
2016 Arkle Challenge Trophy Douvan
Champion Hurdle Annie Power
David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle Vroum Vroum Mag
Baring Bingham Novices' Hurdle Yorkhill
JLT Novices' Chase Black Hercules
Ryanair Chase Vautour
Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle Limini
2017 JLT Novices' Chase Yorkhill
Ryanair Chase Un de Sceaux
Stayers' Hurdle Nichols Canyon
Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle Let's Dance
2018 Arkle Challenge Trophy Footpad
David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle Benie Des Dieux
2019 Supreme Novices' Hurdle Klassical Dream

He was the leading jockey at the Festival 11 times: 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Irish Jump Racing wins season by season[16]

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
2014/15 253 79 31
2015/16 350 105 30
2016/17 371 131 35

GB Jump Racing wins season by season[16]

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
2014/15 56 13 23
2015/16 45 14 31
2016/17 24 6 25


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 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.[17] He returned to the saddle just 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 ground, breaking it in two places. Walsh suffered an injury in the same race in 2012 after a fall from Zarkander which ruled him out of the 2012 Grand National.

On the last day of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival Walsh sustained a compound fracture of the humerus in a fall in the Triumph Hurdle.[18]

On the day before the 2016 Grand National Walsh fractured his wrist after falling in the Topham chase on Blood Cotil.[19]

On 18 November 2017 Walsh fractured his right leg in a fall at Punchestown and did not return until 3 March 2018.[20][21] On day two of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival Walsh aggravated his late 2017 injury.

Trainer split[edit]

In May 2013 it was announced that Walsh and Paul Nicholls were to split following Walsh's decision to spend more time in Ireland with his young family. However they parted on good terms and Walsh has continued to ride the occasional Nicholls horse, including winning on Al Ferof in the Grade 2 Amlin Chase at Ascot in November 2014.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Walsh married Gillian Doran in July 2006. Their first child, Isabelle, was born in October 2009. The couple have gone on to have three more daughters, Elsa, Gemma and Erica.

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

Popular culture[edit]

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 of watching the jockey at the Galway races.


Walsh featured in a TG4 documentary called "Jump Boys". It followed the journeys of Walsh, Barry Geraghty and Davy Russell over the course of the 2011/12 season. It aired on 28 November 2012.[23] He has also occasionally worked as a racing pundit for RTÉ while injured and has appeared on the Channel 4 Racing Saturday morning programme The Morning Line on a number of occasions. Walsh has also featured in a number of well received commercials for the bookmaker Paddy Power, in particular a recent commercial prior to the Cheltenham Festival 2016 where he confronts an angry Twitter Troll and allegations that jockeys intentionally throw themselves off their horses.[24][25]

Major wins[edit]

Republic of Ireland Ireland

United Kingdom Great Britain

France France

Australia Australia

United States United States

Japan Japan


  1. ^ Racing Post[dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d e "goracing profile Ruby Walsh". 14 October 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  3. ^ Racing Post[dead link]
  4. ^ "National: Quote ... unquote". BBC News. 8 April 2000. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  5. ^ "Cheltenham Festival: Hurricane Fly wins Champion Hurdle". BBC Sport. 15 March 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  6. ^ Weaver, Patrick (21 January 2016). "Ruby Walsh plays down historic win record achieved at Gowran Park". Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  7. ^ "Fly in fine fettle as Ruby looks to open Festival with a bang". Irish Independent. 11 March 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  8. ^ "Ruby Walsh wins Australian Grand National". BBC. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  9. ^ "Vincent Hogan: 'Ruby Walsh reads pace of his career race to perfection'". Irish Independent. 1 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  10. ^ "Ruby Walsh announces retirement after win in Punchestown Gold Cup". Guardian. 1 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  11. ^ "Ruby Walsh announces retirement from racing after Punchestown Gold Cup win". The 42. 1 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  12. ^ "Ruby Walsh in exalted company among racing greats". RTE Sport. 2 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  13. ^ "Walsh hailed 'the greatest' - Legend McCoy lauds retiring jockey 'as best I've ever seen'". Irish Independent. 2 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  14. ^ "Ruby Walsh announces retirement from racing". Irish Examiner. 1 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  15. ^ "Horse Racing – Cheltenham Festival: Walsh and Jacob face lengthy injury lay-offs – Yahoo Eurosport UK". 20 April 2011. Archived from the original on 16 March 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  16. ^ a b "Jockey R Walsh Record By Race Type". Racing Post. 2 June 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  17. ^ Horse Racing (26 December 2008). "Irreplaceable Ruby Walsh takes it all in his stride". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  18. ^ "Ruby Walsh suffers compound fracture in horror fall at Cheltenham". Irish Independent. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  19. ^ "Ruby Walsh suffers fractured wrist and misses Grand National". Sky Sports. Retrieved 9 April 2016.
  20. ^ O'Connor, Brian (8 March 2018). "Ruby Walsh returns to action with a winner at Thurles". The Irish Times. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  21. ^ Riley, Stuart (8 March 2018). "Ruby Walsh makes long-awaited return a winning one at Thurles | Horse Racing News | Racing Post". Racing Post. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  22. ^ Chris Cook. "Jump-racing power shift leads to Ruby Walsh and Paul Nicholls split | Sport". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  23. ^ "Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty & Davy Russell TG4 Doc Nears Completion | The Irish Film & Television Network". Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  24. ^ Paddy Power (9 March 2017). "Ruby's Revenge - Ruby Walsh confronts Twitter troll" – via YouTube.
  25. ^ Jones, Mark (11 March 2017). "Ruby Walsh teaches online troll HILARIOUS lesson ahead of Cheltenham Festival". mirror.

External links[edit]