National hunt jockey, Mark Walsh had his first ride in 2002 and in just over seven weeks he had his first win on the racecourse, with him riding the Marcus Callaghan-trained Shrug to success in a 3m handicap hurdle at Punchestown.
He only managed a few rides that opening season but he did finish on a high riding the Christy Roche-trained Allofasudden to a game success in the valuable Flogas Ireland Handicap Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival.
The 2003/4 season was a breakout season for him and from November his workload began to significantly increase. A huge win came his way from the Jessica Harrington-trained Imazulutoo in the Grade 3 betfair.com Juvenile 3-Y-O Hurdle at Fairyhouse at the end of the month. That win kicked off a highly-successful 2004, with him riding no less than 19 winners from 275 rides during the calendar year.
While 2005 was another successful year for Walsh, with him riding 13 winners from 228 rides, he failed to ride a big-race winner which appeared to be the beginning of a downturn in fortunes for him. In the calendar years of 2006 and 2007, Walsh rode just 12 winners, with the majority of them being low-profile successes on Christy Roche-trained horses.
In 2008 things really turned for the better for Walsh and in the Galway Festival he rode the Francis Flood-trained P’Tit Fute to success in the valuable Freshways Handicap Hurdle. Now more closely associated with the Flood yard and that win kick-started a fine run of form for Walsh that continued all the way through the autumn and winter up to his next big-race win which came on P’Tit Fute in the valuable Pertemps Handicap Hurdle Qualifier at Leopardstown.
A month later, Walsh gained his first Graded race success for over five years when winning the Grade 2 Red Mills Chase on the Tom Taaffe-trained Glenfinn Captain. He finished the season on a high note, having his first ride in the Aintree Grand National on the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Reveillez.
His second shot at the Grand National was in 2011 when he partnered Quolibet but unfortunately was unseated at the 11th fence. Back for a third time in the 2012 Grand National, Mark Walsh was on board 10 year old Arbor Supreme for trainer Jonjo O’Neill, but was unseated at fence 10.
So it was fourth times a charm for Walsh who was on board Lost Glory for Jonjo O’Neill in 2013 and despite being a classy horse he had to be pulled-up at the 17th fence.
For the 2014 Grand National it was widely expected that Walsh would be on whichever JP McManus horse that AP McCoy didn’t ride with many suspecting that it would Colbert Station and they were right!