ruby walsh

Ruby Walsh Jockey

It was highly appropriate that Ruby Walsh retired from horse racing in May with a victory, for his star-studded, 24-year National Hunt career has been one glorious highlights reel.

Born in Kill, County Kildare, he announced his talent at the age of just 18, when he won the Irish amateur title. He then won it again the next year, before turning professional.

It didn’t take him long to make his presence felt on the pro scene either, as he notched the first of his two Grand National victories in 2000, aged just 20, in his first attempt at the gruelling steeplechase.

He also won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Hennessy Gold Cup and Whitbread Gold Cup twice, as well as claiming the King George VI Chase five times and the Australian Grand National once.

Walsh was Irish National Hunt champion jockey 12 times and leading rider at the Cheltenham Festival 11 times, in addition to being the latter’s most successful rider ever with 59 wins.

His many achievements led to him being named winner of the International Jockey of the Year Lester Award three times and Horse Racing Ireland’s National Hunt Award five times.

All together, this prolific 40-year-old Irishman rode over 2,500 winners, with the last coming in the Punchestown Gold Cup, his 213th Grade 1 triumph, in front of a sell-out crowd, to underline why he was known as one of the finest National Hunt jockeys ever.

Ruby Walsh Career Highlights

The undoubted main moments of Ruby Walsh’s illustrious career were his two Grand National wins and two Cheltenham Gold Cup successes.

His first Aintree triumph came in 2000 on Papillon, a horse that was trained by his father, Ted, a partnership that then landed the Irish National at Fairhouse the same year on Commanche Court.

Walsh’s second Grand National win arrived in 2005, when he rode Hedgehunter to victory as part of an extraordinary 2004/05 season which brought him three of the four National titles, the others being the Irish with Numbersixvalverde and the Welsh on Silver Birch.

Indeed, the Irishman retired with an outstanding record in the Grand National. Not only did he register two first places, but he also finished second once, third once and fourth twice.

His figures at Cheltenham were even better. He clocked up his first success aged only 18 in 1998 in the Champion Bumper on Alexander Banquet and never looked back, winning the 2004 Queen Mother Champion Chase on Azertyuiop as well as the 2008 and 2009 races on Master Minded, although it was his 2007 and 2009 Cheltenham Gold Cup triumphs on the favourite, Kauto Star, that will live longest in the memory.

Ruby Walsh Signifcant Horses

The incomparable Kauto Star proved a champion horse for Ruby Walsh, as in addition to his wins on him in the 2007 and 2009 Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Irishman rode him to victory in the 2006 Tingle Creek Chase and King George VI Chase, as well as the 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 King George races.

Master Minded also held fond memories for Walsh, since he steered him to victory in the 2008 and 2009 Queen Mother Champion Chase – as well as the 2009 Clarence House Chase and the 2011 Melling Chase.

Big Buck’s was even more prolific for the Irishman, with the pair notching victories in four Stayers’ Hurdles, four Liverpool Hurdles, two Long Walk Hurdles and the Mildmay Novices’ Chase.

Ruby Walsh Injuries

Like many jump jockeys, Ruby Walsh has suffered his fair share of serious injuries, with most following bone-crunching falls, but the Irishman had remarkable powers of recovery.

This was evident from the early part of his career, when he suffered a broken leg after colliding with a running rail during the Great Pardubice Steeplechase in the Czech Republic and then fractured the same leg while schooling a horse – yet recovered in time to ride Papillon to victory at Aintree five months later.

Then, in November 2008, he had to have his spleen removed following a fall at the Paddy Power meeting at Cheltenham but was back in the saddle 27 days later.

However, there were times when even the redoubtable Walsh had to give up rides due to injury. The most notable were during the run-up to the 2010 Grand National, when he broke his left arm in two places, and in 2012, when a fall sidelined him for the Aintree classic.

On the last day of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival he suffered a compound fracture of the humerus in a fall in the Triumph Hurdle, while the day before the 2016 Grand National he fractured a wrist.

In addition, his casualty sheet included one dislocated and one fractured hip, a cracked elbow, dislocations in both shoulders, plus cracked and badly bruised vertebrae.

When Walsh aggravated a leg injury in March 2018, just after returning to the saddle following a fracture of that leg, it was clear Father Time was catching up with him, as he then had to miss both the Aintree and Punchestown Festivals.

Ruby Walsh Net Worth

Ruby Walsh is one of the most successful jump racing jockeys of all time and has amassed more than £21million in prize money. However, his personal net worth is estimated at around £1.5m, according to a recent report.

What Does Ruby Walsh Do Now?

On announcing his retirement, Ruby Walsh promised “to do something different” and he is initially expected to increase his media work.

While he was racing, the Irishman did occasional punditry for RTE when he was injured and appeared on the Channel 4 Racing Saturday morning programme, The Morning Line, several times, but he is tipped by Timeform to join Racing TV’s commentary team.

Walsh has also featured in a number of commercials for the bookmaker, Paddy Power, and written columns for the Racing Post.