Irish-born Ruby Walsh has been leading jockey at the Cheltenham Festival 11 times. With the help of Kauto Star, Big Buck’s and Azertyuiop, he has outperformed the competition.
To understand the prestige of the Cheltenham Festival, we have to look at the man’s successes.
The Irishman was a talented jockey from an early age. Enjoying several wins, he is now known as one of the most successful jockeys in history. His wins have included the Grand National (2000) – on his first attempt – the Scottish Welsh and Irish Grand Nationals.
Ruby Walsh has had the one of the greatest performances at the Cheltenham Festival. He has won four Champion Hurdles, three Champion Chases, five World Hurdles and two Gold Cups. He is a force to be feared. So, here’s a look at some of Ruby Walsh’s greatest moments at the Cheltenham Festival.
Azertyuiop – Champion Chase (2004)
The Cheltenham Festival’s Champion Day, is where Walsh erupted onto win after win in 2004. This make him lead jockey for the first of many occasions. The odds-on favourite, Moscow Flyer, came to a crashing halt half-way through which gave Walsh the chance to have the win.
Azertyuiop was already well in the lead before being giving an almighty push by Ruby Walsh. In the last run for the finish, he put the Arkle Challenge winner through the paces to take a heavy lead and victory by a whopping nine lengths.
Kauto Star – Cheltenham Gold Cup (2009)
After losing the Cheltenham Gold Cup the previous year, Ruby Walsh wanted to return to his 2007 glory and take the crown. Riding Kauto Star, he was sure to cement himself in the Cheltenham Festival History. The favourite, at 7/4 odds, went into the final day of the Cheltenham Festival with an obvious confidence. He gave a superb performance to win with little worry of the rest of the pack.
Denmen, his stablemate and jockey who took his title the year before, came in second. Ruby Walsh and Kauto Star would both be remembered as champions in their field and rightly so.
Kauto Star – King George VI Chase (2009)
Ruby Walsh and Kauto Star had a fantastic year in 2009. They both had the pleasure of winning King George VI Chase five times. But, the consecutive wins has been unmatched in the Cheltenham Festival’s history. It is a performance of a lifetime for both the jockey and Kauto Star.
The unrivalled performance by Kauto Star has not gone unnoticed. It is definitely a part of the Cheltenham Festival’s greatest moments. Kauto Star has received praise in be on being one of the greatest horses since Arkle. It is an apt title for the horse ridden by the legendary Ruby Walsh.
Hurricane Fly – Champion Hurdle (2011)
The name Hurricane Fly could be as easily remembered by racegoers to Walsh. Scoring an immense 22 wins in Grade 1 races, Hurricane Fly helped him to become the leader of the Cheltenham Festival yet again. The 81st running of the Champion Hurdle was a sight to behold as a top-quality performance was delivered. Riding another favourite, at 11/4, Ruby Walsh quashed the hopes of his opponents with yet another swift win.
Big Buck’s – World Hurdle (2012)
Ruby Walsh performance with Big Buck’s over the course of four years has been huge. His dominance of The World Hurdle was strengthened on his fourth uninterrupted win.
That is not to say that his fourth win was an easy one. The exceptional staying hurdler, was pushed every step of the way by Voler Vedette. This unheard of spectacle is why so many flock to the Cheltenham Festival every year.
With Ruby Walsh’s shaky 2017/18 due to injury, will we get the honour to see him at the Cheltenham Festival in 2019? For a chance to witness races like no other with a true legend of the sport, look at our hospitality packages to enjoy the experience like a VIP.