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“I don’t think anyone will benefit from this situation” – Ruby Walsh speaks to Paddy Power after Gigginstown’s bombshell

Jonathan Vine 15 May 2019
Gigginstown Stud founder, Michael O'Leary (centre) pretends to cry after Ruby Walsh (left) and Rich Ricci win one of the many races sponsored by Gigginstown.

Former jockey and Paddy Power ambassador, Ruby Walsh answers questions using his blog with the bookmaker after Gigginstown Stud’s shocking decision to exit the world of horse racing.

National Hunt racing was rocked yesterday afternoon, as the news broke that Gigginstown Stud – one of the most successful and powerful ownership syndicates in the sport – have begun the process of winding down their operation.

Michael O’Leary, and his brother Eddie, both spoke to the press yesterday, stating they had made the decision to stop buying younger horses in order to spend more time with their family. 

Over the coming seasons, there will be fewer and fewer horses in training baring those famous silks carried by greats like Tiger Roll and War Of Attrition. Once the final Gigginstown horse has been sold or retired to stud, O’Leary and the boys will say their goodbyes and head off into the sunset.

Over the past 24 hours, many people within jumps racing have weighed in on this delicate matter. Using his blog. Paddy Power's columnist Ruby Walsh answered questions on the big Gigginstown debate, stating “It might take them four or five years to get out, but the ramifications will be felt as soon as this morning.”

Full Ruby Walsh Q&A with Paddy Power


What were your first thoughts when you heard the news?

"I’m probably not as shocked or as surprised as everyone else. There were signs there along the way. Michael and Anita have four kids that are growing up and the only one that appears to have interest in racing is Michael."

"He didn’t go to the Irish National this year. He wasn’t at the Dublin Racing Festival this year on the Saturday when Apple’s Jade won either because he was doing things with the kids."

"They’ve been hugely successful and they’ve been a massive help to Irish racing and their loss will be huge to a lot of people in racing, not just the trainers, but to the breeders, pin-hookers at sales to point-to-point racing – the loss of their financial investment will be felt across the board."

Given their huge success, might the hunger for more have waned?

"I don’t think it’s about that. They’ve won a lot but to have the amount of horses they have, you need to be in love and dedicated to racing 24/7. I don’t think it was a financial decision either. You don’t get to be as clever as Michael O’Leary by thinking that getting involved in National Hunt racing is a wise business decision. It’s not to make a profit, it’s a passion."

How long will it take before the racing community feel the direct brunt of Gigginstown’s decision?

"The knock-on effect of their decision will be felt immediately and from the bottom up. They won’t be buying next week at the Land Rover Sale. They won’t be buying at the Derby Sale. They won’t have point-to-pointers next year, no bumper horses, then no novice hurdlers or chasers.  It might take them four or five years to get out, but the ramifications will be felt as soon as this morning."

Will this give the smaller trainers a better chance of winning the bigger races?

"I don’t think anyone will benefit from this situation. It’s a loss for Irish racing. There is no winner."

"When Gigginstown split with Willie, he had to change his business and survive without them. And he did that, successfully. Gordon Elliott, Noel Meade, Henry de Bromhead, Joseph O’Brien, they’ll all have to do the same and they will. They will readjust their business and work without them. It’s a carbon copy of what happened to Willie but it’s on a national scale. Except this time, they’re not just moving, they’re going for good."

 For Paddy Power’s Gigginstown related specials, click here...


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“I don’t think anyone will benefit from this situation” – Ruby Walsh speaks to Paddy Power after Gigginstown’s bombshell

Former jockey and Paddy Power ambassador, Ruby Walsh answers questions using his blog with the bookmaker after Gigginstown Stud’s shocking decision to exit the world of horse racing.

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