Legends Of Horse Racing: Ruby Walsh

Not all legends of the race track are long gone from the saddle and stirrups. Some of the legends of horse racing are still seated in the saddle, galloping for gold at every chance they get. Others have only just recently left their colors behind, as they call it a day.

When you go to the races, or when you bet on the races online, you might consider a pick 4 wager with Ruby Walsh. Why? Why wouldn’t you? is the real question. Out of all of the recent jockeys to be slaying on horseback, he is one of the greats.

Ruby Walsh is a former jump jockey, who rode the National Hunt. At age 43, he had an astounding amount of achievements behind him, backing up his validity as one of the best jockeys of all time.

But, why?

Let’s tell you…

How Many Times He Won At The Cheltenham Festival

Let’s start with one of the most amazing aspects of his career, his wins at Cheltenham.

Cheltenham is a racing festival that has many horse racing enthusiasts excited each year, especially in the UK. And out of many of the jockeys that rode there, he was one of the festival’s best known and most successful jockeys ever.

He had an incredible total of 59 wins at this meet. He is the highest winning jockey at Cheltenham festival, probably ever, with such an incredible 59 win record.

He managed to be the leading jockey at this festival on an amazing 11 occasions, and made another record, riding 7 winning horses on 2 occasions as well!

He also was the first ever jockey to ride a total of 4 winning horses in just one day at Cheltenham, while he dominated on the 3rd day during the renewal in 2017.

He also won the Ryanair Chase riding Un De Sceaux, the JLT Notices’ Chase riding Yorkhill, and the Stayers’ Hurdler riding Nichols Canyon and the Mare’s Novices’ Hurdles riding Let’s Dance.

It is quite the roster of winners, and he rode each to glory.

His Career

If we look back a little more, he was already showing talent from a very young age, and even won the Irish Amateur title on two occasions when he was 18 and 19 years old.

He also won the Grand National in 2000, in his second solid year as a professional, which is quite the feat! Oh, and it was also his first attempt at this race too. He won the Grand National on Papillon, which was a horse his father had trained.

They then went on together to win the Irish Grand National with the horse Commanche Court later that year.

Four years later he won 3 out of 4 of the National races.

To this day, Walsh has ridden an astounding 2500 runners, 59 of which have been winners at Cheltenham. He also managed to win the Tingle Creek Chase in 2006 and the King George VI Chase in the same year on the horse Kauto Star.

He repeated the former again on the same horse in 2007, then again in 2008, and once more in 2009, when he and Kauto Star managed to win by an absolutely jaw-dropping 36 lengths.

He wasn’t done yet though. In 2011, he decided to return to the King George VI Chase, with Kauto Star again,

Walsh also managed to achieve the ‘fastest ever century of winners in Irish jumps history’ in 2007, when he rode Bluestone Lad.

He ended his 2006 to 2007 season in the UK and Ireland with 198 winners total, which was the highest across these nations in that year.

You might think that as he retired he may have started to dwindle. If you do think so, you would be wrong. Walsh retired in 2019, but not before he set tons of records.

By the time he retired, he was still Cheltenham Festival’s most successful ride at 59 wins, and having won the leading riders’ award 11 times in 14 years.

His career lasted 14 years in total. He announced his retirement after riding Kemboy into first place during the Punchestown Gold Cup.

Let The Stats Speak For Him

Walsh was Cheltenham’s leading jockey in: 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.

While you may think his win percentage may have decreased towards his retirement you would be wrong. In his starting in Irish jump racing year as a professional he won 14% of his races. Then 8 years later this had increased to 24%, and by the time he retired, in his final year he had won 35% of his races.

The most races he ran in one year was 562 races in 2006-2007, during which he won 125 races, giving him a win rate of 22% that year alone!

In his UK jump pages, the figures are similar. In his beginner year he won 13% of his races, 8 years later he won 30% of his races, and in his final year he won 25% of his races, making him one of the most successful jockeys in his winning percentage!