Ruby Walsh was in the studio for the first episode of From The Horse’s Mouth – the new Paddy Power Media podcast of which he stars in – and he’s regaled a brilliant story from one of his biggest days in the saddle.
My greatest achievement in 2011 wasn’t winning the fifth King George Chase. That day, I won the race at 3.05pm and made the 4.20pm flight home to Dublin from Heathrow!
I was out the door at 100mph.
They were filming that ‘Jump Boys’ programme at the time, as well. They were standing outside, waiting for the interview. I just went running past them, delighted with myself. But I was thinking, 4.20pm – be in Dublin for 5.30pm.
It was St. Stephens’ Day (or Boxing Day as it’s called in the UK) so there was very little traffic and whatever else going on, so you’re legging it to get out of Kempton before the last race and get to the airport!
It’s enjoyable to get home even after winning a big race like the King George VI Chase!
As for what it will take this year’s King George at Kempton on Thursday – well, pace is the key thing.
Pacey horses tend to win it more so than sluggers. You see plenty of horses who can win King George’s, but may not get home in a Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Kauto Star managed to do it, Best Mate managed to do it, so did See More Business. Great horses can do both, but a lot of horses excel at Kempton and struggle at Cheltenham. So, pace is a huge thing.
Lostintranslation was done for pace in the JLT last year and he was done for it in the Scilly Isles Novices Chase as well. He only ended up winning the Dipper Chase at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day because Defi du Seuil possibly committed going to the last, got a few lengths in front, then pulled himself up and allowed Lostintranslation to get back in.
But when Lostintranslation stepped up to three miles Aintree last year as a novice, he looked a much better horse. He didn’t quite have the speed to be good enough for two and a half, and he could be vulnerable to a very pacey individual in Cyrname.
There’s only six runners in the race. Thistlecrack was second last year’s race, I don’t know how he’s going to reverse the form with last year’s winner Clan Des Obeaux. Thistlecrack was a very good horse, but he’s a bit older now, he’s had a few injuries, and I just don’t think that he will be placed in this year’s King George.
I think Cyrname, Lostintranslation, Clan Des Obeaux will be the first three home.
Harry Cobden has chosen to ride Cyrname so Sam Twiston-Davies will ride stablemate and last year’s winner, Clan Des Obeaux. If I was still riding, I would have chosen Cyrname too.
He’s my pick for the feature race on Boxing Day.