This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Ruby Walsh interview with Paddy Power – “I wanted it to feel like a celebration!”

Jonathan Vine 3 May 2019
Ruby Walsh salutes the crowd after winning the Punchestown Gold Cup with Kemboy, in what was his final outing as a jockey.

A day after his surprise retirement, Ruby Walsh revealed all via his Paddy Power blog and discussing the past, present and what he might get up to in the future.

A year after his sister dropped the retirement bombshell on the unsuspecting faithful at Punchestown, Ruby Walsh shocked the world by announcing his Gold Cup-winning ride on Kemboy would be his last. 

Rumours had been swirling around the National Hunt racing world throughout the spring that this would be Walsh’s final season in the saddle. The 39-year-old continually shot down retirement talk in front of the press, but he revealed to Paddy Power on Wednesday that he, and his family, had been planning his retirement for the most of the campaign.

“Only my mum, dad and Jennifer (sister and agent) knew. And my wife Gillian of course.” Ruby said via his Paddy Power blog. “She knew a long time ago. But that was it, I told nobody else. I got down off a horse and told my boss as I always said I would.”

Willie Mullins confessed he was “as shocked as anyone” to receive Walsh’s immediate resignation. Ireland’s Champion Trainer was quick to pay tribute to his former stable jockey however, as Mulllins – along with other greats like Paul Nicholls and AP McCoy – described Ruby as one of the best jockeys to ever sit in a saddle.

“Winning all of those big races over the past few months, deep down I was treasuring those moments. I knew they wouldn't be happening again. But that was for me to enjoy.” Walsh continued.

“When AP retired it was a sad day. I wanted yesterday to feel like a celebration. I was retiring, I wasn’t dying! I knew there was lots of speculation, but that didn’t bother me much. I knew what I was going to do. I was making my own decisions. I know it came as a bit of a surprise to a lot of people. But I didn’t want to do the lap of honour. I just wanted to retire and get out.”

“I enjoyed yesterday. I enjoyed the race and I enjoyed revealing the decision I made. Obviously, I had a rough plan in my mind, but I was hoping for the fairytale ending. Not everyone gets that. But I did, thank god,”
When asked why he didn’t see out the week and bow out at the end of the Punchestown Festival, Walsh revealed he wanted to retire on a high and a Gold Cup victory was the ideal opportunity.

“You can’t plan a fairytale exit. I didn’t do it on Klassical Dream because I wanted to ride in the big races. But I’m not a poker player. I didn’t really feel like rolling the dice again after Kemboy. If the horses didn’t win today or on Friday or Saturday I’d have been kicking myself for not getting out on Kemboy. The opportunity presented itself. I wasn’t going to hand it back.”

Once racing had finished, Ruby and his family joined some friends in the track-side Le Touche Bar, before taking the after-party to a snug local pub.

“The usual set of friends and family appeared and we sipped our way merrily through the night. When we got home I sat down on the couch with Gillian and watched the replay. Given that I’m only a part-time drinker, we had to watch it all again this morning!”

A new set of whispers then started doing the rounds throughout the press box at Punchestown, with many speculating what Ruby will get up to now his riding days are over. Rumours were abound that the RacingUK pundit planned to take up a training licence on the flat, but when asked if this was true, Ruby gave a pragmatic response, claiming he and the family were looking forward to a long, well-deserved break.

“Obviously, Willie didn’t know I was going to retire, so we haven’t discussed the future.” Walsh continued. “But I’ve every intention of keeping busy and staying fit and I don’t plan on getting heavy. I was feeding horses this morning belonging to Willie.

“For now, we’ll plan a family holiday. I’m really looking forward to bringing the kids skiing next year maybe. I can’t wait to do that. These things weren’t options for me before because of the risks. And I’ve missed out on the simple things, like football matches. All of those things happen at weekends. They don’t sit in with a sportspersons life. Suddenly, I can be there for more of those moments now.”

For more breaking news, expert tips and insights, visit the Paddy Power blog….

Bonus Bets United States
Change Location

*Terms & Conditions apply. Gamble Responsibly. 18+.

Share this with your friends

Your comments:

Ruby Walsh interview with Paddy Power – “I wanted it to feel like a celebration!”

A day after his surprise retirement, Ruby Walsh revealed all via his Paddy Power blog and discussed plans for his future on Thursday 2nd May.

Read more »

You have unread messages

    You have unread messages