Ruby Walsh is listed among a stellar cast of comeback kings returning to the saddle to participate in the Pat Smullen Champions Race for Cancer Trials Ireland on Sunday (4.50pm).
And the Kildare man, who will carry a number cloth sponsored by Paddy Power, shared his thoughts on returning to the saddle for the first time since his unexpected retirement.
“I’ll probably be excited but I definitely won’t be nervous. Plenty of trainers and owners are supporting it so it will be a competitive race.
“I never stopped riding out but it doesn’t matter, we’re all retired, no matter what we do, there’s none of us going to be as fit as we once were. But I would be hopeful that I’ll be as fit as the opposition anyway,” he said of his rivals.
“It would be great if the nine of us got to the two furlong pole and every one of us looked like we had a chance. That would be a great spectacle.”
Asked if he’s in it to win it, he said: “Of course I want to win! There’s a competitive edge in each and every one of us. But ultimately the winner will be Pat Smullen and the money he has raised to fund research into pancreatic cancer.”
Irish bookmaker Paddy Power have lined up a crack squad of experts to help raise funds for punters, and more importantly for charity, across Longines Irish Champions Weekend.
The Paddy Power Winning Line kicks off at 1pm this Saturday at Leopardstown before racing gets underway and the betting firm have an all-star panel in place to set pulses racing before the off.
Ex-National Hunt great Ruby Walsh, flat jockey turned trainer Johnny Murtagh, former Waterford hurler John Mullane and covert racing connoisseur & GAA pundit Colm O’Rourke will be on hand from 1pm in The Champions Quarter Marquee at Leopardstown.
They will share their views on the days racing, not to mention give their opinion on the All-Ireland final replay taking place later the same evening.
Each panelist will be given a €250 charity bet courtesy of Paddy Power to wager as they dare in a bid to raise much needed funds for Cancer Trials Ireland as part of a major push to support Pat Smullen’s chosen charity.
Twenty-four hours later, at The Curragh, a second panel with some more familiar faces will test their tipping skills in The Champions Quarter from 12.20pm, an hour before the first race.
Top flat trainer Joseph O’Brien, Racing Post journalist David Jennings and Ruby Walsh will take the reins in a bid to batter the bookies on the concluding day of what is billed to be a bumper weekend of racing.
“We’ve put up a whack of cash to raise some funds for Pat Smullen’s chosen charity, and given the calibre of both panels, we expect the lads to go straight for the jugular,” a spokesperson for Paddy Power said.
For the latest odds on the Pat Smullen Champions Race For Cancer Trials, see Paddy’s Horse Racing Specials page here.
To donate to Cancer Trails Ireland click on Cancer Trial Ireland here.