It has been a while since my last horse racing post, so I have decided to focus on jockey's who have inspired me to work in the sport.
Ruby Walsh is a sportsman who has definitely been an inspiration, not only to fellow jockeys but also to pundits and journalists.
He tackles every race with determination and enthusiasm: not only in the high-profile races but also in the ones that may not mean as much with regards to media attention or prize money.
So here's why Mr Walsh has stood out of the crowd and is one of the reasons why horse racing is an attractive sport to admire:
Ruby Walsh dreamt that one day he would become racing’s most successful jockey and achieve high-profile wins within the sport.
At the 2009 Cheltenham Festival Walsh rode a record-breaking seven winners over the four days, yet on the second racing day of the 2010 Festival, the Irish hero rode Sanctuaire to victory in the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices Handicap Hurdle to make him the most successful jockey in the history of the spectacular racing event.
It should therefore come to no surprise seeing Walsh as odds-on favourite to be top jockey at this year’s Cheltenham Festival as the 32-year-old showed immense talent from an early age.
Born Rupert Walsh on May 14 1979, the reigning Irish National Hunt champion jockey is the second child of former champion amateur jockey Ted Walsh.
At a young age, Walsh won the Irish amateur title twice 1996/7 and 1997/98 before turning into the professional that we all know him to be.
The Irish wonder won the John Smith’s Grand National on his first attempt in 2000, aged 20, on Papillon, a horse trained by his father.
Ruby’s dream of being racing’s most successful jockey has become reality. To date he has ridden over nineteen hundred winners since his first win on Alexander Banquet in 1998.
The jockey really does create a buzz for all racing fans: his determination and love for the sport is visible to all and trainer Paul Nicholls must realise how lucky he is to have Ruby ride for his yard.
In March 2011 he rode Hurricane Fly to victory in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, finishing ahead of Peddlers Cross and popular horse Oscar Whisky. This was Ruby’s first triumph in the feature race and now he’s had it all: Walsh’s vision of winning high-profile races is no longer down to wishful thinking. He can live in reality.