Ruby Walsh’s Punchestown Festival notes including a Galopin Des Champs prediction

When Ruby talks, we take note!


We’re gearing up for five fantastic days of racing at the Punchestown Festival as the curtain comes down on the Jumps season in Ireland.

Our resident jockey-turned-pundit Ruby Walsh rode plenty of winners at the County Kildare mega meeting so when he talks, we listen.

Luckily, he was on good form when appearing on the Punters’ Panel – Punchestown Edition of our From The Horse’s Mouth podcast and cast his expert eye on some big races and emerging stars.

The latest Punchestown odds can be found on the Paddy Power website and Paddy Power app, otherwise keep on reading for Ruby’s thoughts on Galopin Des Champs, Hewick, Vauban and a couple of Willie Mullins bumper prospects. You can listen to the show in full below!


“I’m never again opposing Hewick, I feel my days of opposing Hewick are finished.

“I thought he couldn’t win the Galway Plate, he bolted in, I thought he couldn’t get involved in the Kerry National, he was going to win, I thought the Gold Cup, I think quarter to Doom you can win the Grand National, turns in in front, down the hill I’m thinking ‘My God, Hewick is going to win the Gold Cup like!’ So I’m not opposing Hewick ever, ever again in my life.

“Best of luck to Hewick, though I think Galopin Des Champs could be as good a horse as we’ve seen in a long time and maybe could end up one of the greatest horses of all time, but I’m not opposing Hewick.”


“Yeah, I’d imagine there is [a chance of Vauban having a Flat campaign] if he gets beaten out of sight by State Man again, yeah all options are open. Looking for a different option really because he’s proven then that by the end of his four, five-year-old career that year that he hasn’t improved enough to compete at Grade 1 level so what options are for him and obviously going back on the Flat would be.

“No that doesn’t mean could I see him at Royal Ascot – no I think after being trained the way he has and after having the runs that he’s having, I could see him having a break in the month of May and coming back into training and maybe appearing at something like Galway. I’m not sure what his mark is – maybe he’s too high for the amateur handicap but I could see him having a backend summer/autumn flat campaign but I couldn’t see him going on from here.

“Whatever happens with Vauban on Friday, I could see him getting a break. The Ebor, the Cesarewitch in Ireland those kind of races – yeah I could see him doing that. [Galway Hurdle?] He’s the wrong age, no he’s five, maybe, I’d see him having a break in the month of May – would he go to the Galway Hurdle maybe the Galway Hurdle as a prep for the Ebor.

“Say if you went [to Royal Ascot] with Vauban you would start to progress with him through the summer and hoping he’d be a horse for Royal Ascot in 12 months’ time or 14 months’ time. He’d train him with a summer campaign in mind, he’s been trained as a winter horse so he’s going to have to have a holiday at some stage. You can’t just keep going back to the well.”


“By this time of year you should know what the best horses are and usually the ones that won in Cheltenham are the best ones and then if they’re just lucky on the day when they get here and they’re not over the top.

“Like if I was Paul Townend would I get off Facile Vega to ride Il Etait Temps or Diverge? No, no way would I. But does that mean Facile Vega’s going to beat Il Etait Temps and Diverge, no. But how do you get off Facile Vega after the Dublin Racing Festival, after finishing second to Marine Nationale. And suppose if Marine Nationale blows out and you don’t ride Facile Vega because you get up on one of the other ones. Now that would fry your head.”


“I’d say [Ballyburn] is a fair horse – he was very good on debut when he won at Punchestown. Look there were two horses that didn’t go to Cheltenham that will both come to Punchestown, Tullyhill being the other one. I’d say he’s a pretty good horse as well or looks to be – I thought he was really impressive on debut at Gowran Park for Cheveley Park.

“I think Ballyburn is more of a stayer myself – I’d be surprised if he’s a Supreme horse, I’d be hoping he is, that means that through the summer with a summer’s grass, he’s improved speed wise as well as the stamina that he’s shown, but if you were pushing me right now, I’d be saying one of the longer novice hurdles. He’s coming here, he’s been in full work and he’s running at Punchestown.”

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