We salute top jock Ruby Walsh as he reaches 50 Cheltenham Festival winners
Driving Alexander Banquet over the line 18 years ago in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, a 19-year-old jockey with already-greying hair bagged his first Festival winner for trainer Willie Mullins. That’s a winning Festival feeling top jock Ruby Walsh has now experienced a monster 50 times.
The most successful Cheltenham Festival jockey has made it to the massive landmark of 50 winners, spanning 16 incredible years. Black Hercules’ win in the JLT Novices’ Chase gave Ruby the fantastic number 50. He has been the leading jockey at the Festival nine times already and will be picking up a 10th crown in 2016 (much to the dismay of Paddy Power’s bank balance).
Douvan, Annie Power, Vroum Vroum Mag and Yorkhill have all given Ruby winners this year and he’s got a red-hot chance of winning his third Gold Cup with Djakadam on Friday.
And thanks to Vautour in the Ryanair Chase and Limini in the Mares‘ Novices‘ Hurdle later on in the day on Thursday, Ruby is now up to a staggering 52 winners!
“A Cheltenham victory definitely makes up for all the falls, cold wet mornings, hours in the car and work it’s takes to get there,” Ruby told the Paddy Power Blog. “The more winners you ride there the more you seem to crave but it’s not as simple as just turning up.
“You need a little luck and Cheltenham has been a lucky place for me. It’s a relief when you do past the post in front because Cheltenham is so competitive, the expectation on you is so high. That’s what makes it so special. If you’d told me when I started out that I would get 50 Cheltenham winners I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s an incredible milestone.”
“He’s an absolute legend,” trainer Willie Mullins told Racing UK. “We’ve been blessed to live in an era in which Ruby Walsh and AP McCoy have ridden. Ruby is incredible, and an integral part of my team. The amount of work he does, apart from the riding, is incredible. Sometimes I don’t even let him ride, because I want him watching the work and getting the information. I like to have him on the ground beside me giving me insight.
“Right now Ruby is at the peak of his powers. He’s so confident in himself and he breathes that confidence into the horses. He follows the form in both Ireland and England, and he knows the opposition inside out.”
Celestial Halo, Denman, Kauto Star, Quevega, Master Minded, Big Buck’s and Hurricane Fly are just some of the other Festival heroes Ruby has ridden into the winners’ enclosure, and your comprehensive list of all 50 is below.
Complete list of Ruby Walsh’s Cheltenham Festival winners
- 1998: Alexander Banquet (Champion Bumper)
- 2002: Blowing Wind (Handicap Chase)
- 2003: Azertyuiop (Arkle)
- 2004: Azertyuiop (Champion Chase), St Pirran (Grand Annual Chase), Sporazene (County Hurdle)
- 2005: Missed That (Champion Bumper), Thisthatandtother (Ryanair Chase)
- 2006: Noland (Supreme Novices’), Dun Doire (Festival Trophy Handicap), Desert Quest (County Hurdle)
- 2007: Denman (RSA Chase), Taranis (Ryanair Chase), Kauto Star (Gold Cup)
- 2008: Master Minded (Champion Chase), Fiveforthree (Neptune Novices’ Hurdle) Celestial Halo (Triumph Hurdle)
- 2009: Quevega (Mares’ Hurdle), Master Minded (Champion Chase), Big Buck’s (World Hurdle), Mikael d’Haguenet (Neptune Novices’ Hurdle), Cooldine (RSA Chase), American Trilogy (County Hurdle), Kauto Star (Gold Cup)
- 2010: Quevega (Mares’ Hurdle), Sanctuaire (Fred Winter Hurdle), Big Buck’s (World Hurdle)
- 2011: Al Ferof (Supreme Novices’ Hurdle), Hurricane Fly (Champion Hurdle), Quevega (Mares’ Hurdle), Big Buck’s (World Hurdle), Final Approach (County Hurdle)
- 2012: Big Buck’s (World Hurdle), Quevega (Mares’ Hurdle)
- 2013: Champagne Fever (Supreme Novices’ Hurdle), Hurricane Fly (Champion Hurdle), Quevega (Mares’ Hurdle) Briar Hill (Champion Bumper)
- 2014: Vautour (Supreme Novices’ Hurdle), Quevega (Mares’ Hurdle), Faugheen (Neptune Novices’ Hurdle)
- 2015: Douvan (Supreme Novices’ Hurdle), Un De Sceaux (Arkle), Faugheen (Champion Hurdle), Vautour (JLT Novices’ Chase)
- 2016: Douvan (Arkle), Annie Power (Champion Hurlde), Vroum Vroum Mag (Mares’ Hurdle), Yorkhill (Neptune Novices’ Hurdle), Black Hercules (JLT Novices’ Chase), Vautour (Ryanair Chase), Limini (Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle)