Ruby Walsh: Pulling up is a big call – Sandown jockey bans are harsh

Plenty of controversy last weekend


Void London National

It was disappointing. I can see why the lads didn’t stop, I can see why the race was void. I see lots of things in it. It’s disappointing for Sandown, for the jockeys, for the connections for Houblon Des Obeaux, for everyone.

It’s harsh that the jockeys are going to miss a bit of the Christmas programme, but they’re the rules. The rule is correct, but the procedure to enable them to deal with an incident like that should be different. They need more than one flag man there. To stop and pull up is a huge decision.

If you’re in with a winning chance, that’s a big call.

The rules are written, Sandown did everything correctly, the jockeys broke them, but the procedure has to alter to make it clearer for everyone when it happens.

(Voided) RaceDoing Fine – Philip Donovan winner of
The Betfair London National Handicap Chase (Class 2)
Sandown Park 7.12.19

Get over to for all the latest racing odds

Races Clashing on TV

Circumstances contrived against television coverage on Sunday. There were delays from the word ‘go’. Unfortunately for Davy Russell, he felt ill in the parade ring when he was supposed to ride Arctic Pearl, and that delayed Puncheston by 12 or 13 minutes, and that put them into Huntingdon race times.

There’s nothing Racing TV can do about that. There’s probably not much Punchestown could do about it either. It was just circumstances. You can’t just blame Racing TV – they didn’t delay the races.

There are dedicated race feeds on Racing TV Extra too, so if you wanted to watch Punchestown you could’ve watched it.

Definitely, though, with the planning of race meetings and times, I said before that there needs to be eight minutes between races. There were four meetings on Sunday, it was a perfect opportunity for eight-minute intervals.


It wouldn’t have sorted the problem because there was ten minutes between Punchestown and Huntingdon races, but circumstances contrived against the whole day’s racing. Still, at eight-minute intervals, Huntingdon would’ve been that bit different from Punchestown.

And then you had Cork backing straight into the back of Huntingdon, and then you had Kelso.

If the whole day had been run on eight-minute intervals it would’ve been more symmetrical from the start. Something like that needs to happen.

The big races were clashing too – they were scheduled back-to-back – I don’t know who put them on there.

The Peterborough Chase jumped off before the John Durkan. If you were watching on TV, the Peterborough was entitled to have the commentary because it went off first.

And the finish was going to be before the John Durkan, so it made sense to let that play out. When I was watching you could see Huntingdon was going to have the commentary because Punchestown, due to circumstances beyond their control, was so far behind

If anything changes, it won’t be in the next three weeks before Christmas. Going forward, with more planning things could be a lot more enjoyable for everybody.

It wasn’t Racing TV’s fault, it was down to the circumstances that arose.

It wasn’t anybody’s fault. Davy Russell didn’t intend to get sick, he just got ill, and that’s why the races got delayed. Things go wrong. That doesn’t mean it has to be somebody’s fault. There doesn’t have to be someone to blame for everything.

Another win for Min

The Tingle Creek was a great race to watch. Obviously, Defi du Seuil travelled better than I thought he could and his jumping was super. I would’ve loved if Un de Sceaux could’ve got back up, but Defi was pulling up in front and he’s going to be a big player all year.

He’s just younger and still improving, but Un de Sceaux lost very little in defeat. He’s a cracking horse and ran his heart out.

Min was a bit high and overly brave jumping at times, but he still got the job done, which you like to see. It was his first run of the season and a good start, we’ll see what he does over Christmas and where he goes after that.

Ruby Walsh pose

Two-and-a-half miles looks like his perfect trip – he’s won four from five at the distance now. Obviously he lost to Un de Sceaux over two miles back in Punchestown last year, but that probably came after a clear high performance in Aintree. He’s a very versatile horse.

Cilaos Emery is unbeaten over fences and jumped brilliantly on Sunday. Ballyoisin went a really good gallop and Great Field was hardly out of it until he unseated. That was unfortunate for him, but Cilaos Emery is now three-for-three.

He’s going to face stiffer tasks in the future, but he’s an improving horse. You’d have to think he’s in the Queen Mother picture – he’s won his two chases well, beating Ornua at Naas and Ballyoisin on Sunday, so that’s the obvious road to go.

In the Becher Chase, Walk In The Mill won it but I thought the horse to take out of it was One For Arthur, who stayed on really well and showed he still has plenty of enthusiasm.

Get over to for all the latest racing odds

What do you think?