Ruby Walsh is one of the most famous and successful jockeys in the world. Son of the former champion amateur jockey Ted Walsh, Ruby Walsh won his first Irish amateur title in 1996/7 at just 18 yers of age and then again in 1997/8, before turning professional.
At just 20 years old he rode to victory in the Aintree Grand National in 2000 at his first attempt, on Papillon, a horse trained by his father. 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.
To date Walsh has ridden over nineteen hundred winners including 37 winners at the Cheltenham Festival since his first win in 1998 on Alexander Banquet including the 2007 Cheltenham Gold Cup on the favourite, Kauto Star and a second Queen Mother success in 2008 on the brilliant five-year-old Master Minded as well as a treble on opening day of the 2013 Festival. In 2007, Walsh won the inaugural British Horseracing Board Jockeys’ Order of Merit award.
He was also Champion jockey at the 2010 Cheltenham festival though had disappointing rides on bookie favourites Big Bucks and Kauto Star and 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.
Walsh has ridden in 10 Grand Nationals with two wins under belt but 2012 was yet another disappointment as history appeared to repeat itself and, as in 2010, Walsh was injured in the same earlier race on the day when he fell from Zarkandar and could not compete in the National on On His Own who fell at fence 22 when ridden by replacement jockey Paul Townend who was moved from The Midnight Club.
Hoping that more luck was on his side in 2013, Walsh renewed his partnership with the Willie Mullins and Graham Wylie owned On His Own but it was not to be and he fell at Valentine’s on the second circuit.
At the 2014 Cheltenham Festival he won the opening race and followed it up with more wins as the week progressed before falling midway through the JCB Triumph Hurdle and was then hit by Adriana Des Mottes. That resulted in a compound fracture to his arm and he will not be able to race in the 2014 Grand National.