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Dublin: 14°C Friday 18 September 2020

'Ruby was always there to help and advise me. It was brilliant that he could go out on his own terms'

Betway brand ambassador Katie Walsh reflects on her brother’s incredible career in the saddle after his announcement at Punchestown this week.

Katie interviewing Ruby at Leopardstown earlier this year.
Katie interviewing Ruby at Leopardstown earlier this year.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

I WASN’T AT Punchestown on Wednesday sadly as I was over in England for the sales.

It was a great day and absolutely brilliant for Ruby to go out on his own terms after such a big win with Kemboy in the Punchestown Gold Cup at our local track.

We’re a very close family and they will all have enjoyed themselves on Wednesday night. I’m sorry I wasn’t there but they would have had a great celebration.

Kemboy was brilliant, he looks like an aeroplane. Him and Al Boum Photo are two very good horses and they are going to be very exciting next season.

Ruby has always been very competitive and professional. He was obviously very talented and I suppose he was lucky and unlucky at the same time. He rode some incredible horses but had a few more injuries than some of the other lads.

Ruby Walsh onboard Nichols Canyon is congratulated on winning the race by Katie Walsh onboard Clondaw Warrior The siblings embrace after racing at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

He was always there to help and advise me, but it was the same for all the other jockeys. There’s a very tight bond in the weighing room and a great level of respect. Most senior jockeys are there to give a helping hand for anyone that needs it. That’s one of the great things about our sport.

There have been so many amazing days but Papillon winning the Grand National in 2000 has to be number one for all of us.

It was huge, such a great day. I was only 15 then but I led him up and it’s something we’ll never forget.

Aintree Papillon arrival A teenaged Katie with Papillon. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

It’s been a great journey. I’ve been going to Cheltenham every year since 1997 and it’s always fantastic just to be a part of it all. We’ve had some incredible days as a family there.

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Ruby had a remarkable career. He was associated with so many brilliant horses: Kauto Star, Big Buck’s, Denman, Hurricane Fly, Quevega, Annie Power, Douvan, Faugheen and now Kemboy — the list goes on and on.

Any jockey who retires on their own terms is ready to retire and Ruby was ready. He had some unbelievable highs and of course plenty of lows, but that’s the life of a National Hunt jockey. It’s much harder for those who have had the decision made for them.

He can now move on to the next stage of his life and, as we all know, he’ll grab it with both hands.

This article was originally published on the Betway Insider blog

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Katie Walsh

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