The Ruby Walsh Column: I have been lucky enough to live my dream

By Ruby Walsh
Thu 2 May 2019

Racing TV ambassador Ruby Walsh reflects on his decision to retire after guiding Kemboy to victory in the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup and looks back on his glittering career.

I could never have seen my career to be what it was and be as lucky as I have been to ride some brilliant horses.

You have a dream and you keep going until the dream turns into a nightmare. Thankfully, it never did, and I have just been so lucky. It is all I ever wanted to do, and I have got to live that dream – it’s brilliant.

I had kind of made up my mind that I would retire if Kemboy won this week and, if he hadn’t, then anything I could have got out on. I am not much of a poker player though, so I didn’t want to roll the dice for Thursday or Friday!

All my family were here today at Punchestown aswell – I had to organise that too, didn’t I!

Whenever I was injured, I always thought about coming back. My goal was to always come back and go out in one piece. I didn’t know when I was going to finish.

However, there comes a time when you think you have had enough of this and want to do something different, and I probably decided last summer that I was going to retire.

I have done it for 24 years, and now it is time to do something different, and I do want to do something different - I am looking forward to it.

I am lucky enough to work for Racing TV, the Irish Examiner and Paddy Power, and I hope to expand on those connections going forward.

Papillon the one victory that stands out:

Papillon winning the Grand National in 2000 was the one day above all else that you could never repeat. To pick out one though would be unfair.

I was very lucky to ride for two of the greatest trainers, Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls, during my career and to ride a lot of the best horses of my generation.

Any jockey is only as good as the horses they are riding, and I rode some absolute superstars from Imperial Call at Punchestown 20 years ago, to Azertyuiop, Denman, Kauto Star, Big Buck's, Master Minded, Vautour, Annie Power, Faugheen, Hurricane Fly; I have ridden them all, even Kemboy today.

I have just been so lucky to have ridden a golden bunch of horses. Even if you had a crystal ball, you could not have seen how lucky I was going to be.

I was just driven, loved it and enjoyed it all. The horses I was riding was just magic.

I have always been surrounded by good people:

Ruby Walsh receives a soaking after announcing his retirement
Ruby Walsh receives a soaking after announcing his retirement

You are only as good as the people around you and I have always had brilliant people around me. Gillian, my wife, my sisters Katie and Jennifer, my mum and dad, I have always had good people around me.

Over in England, A P McCoy could not have been any better to me. It’s just magic.

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