Ruby Walsh ponders Cheltenham Festival changes that would make him sad

A five-day Festival and no amateur chase! Forget it.



Ruby Walsh appeared on the latest edition of the From the Horse’s Mouth podcast where he discussed social media abuse, his go-to karaoke song and the race he thinks shouldn’t be dropped at Cheltenham.

I’ve heard a whisper about Cheltenham going to five days – what a bad idea. I can’t see the need for it. What’s the point?

It’s not the only story that’s caught my eye. The festival’s organisers are yet to confirm which race will be dropped from the schedule in order to allow the Mares’ Chase to be added.

What could it be? In terms of dropping a race, I’d say a lot depends on what happens in this year’s National Hunt Chase.

I would be in favour of keeping it though. I think it’s a great race.

I would revert it back to what it was 15 years ago where it was for horses who were maidens at the start of the season, so the quality of the race was much lower than it is now.

Since the conditions changed, you can have four really good horses and 16 not-so-good ones, and that’s where you end up then with horses that are unable to keep up with the others.

They are literally out of their depth.


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I would try and make sure horses of the same calibre ran in it – to make it a more consistent race.

With the bad publicity the race got last year, it could be in trouble, particularly if something similar were to happen again. That would be sad, but it could happen.

People say the Fred Winter could be for the chopping block, but since its introduction it has has enabled the Triumph Hurdle to be a genuine Grade 1 contest and not the lottery that it used to be.

The Fred Winter serves a purpose and works.

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Geraghty abuse by Twitter trolls

Trust me, you get plenty of stick online. But, it’s simple. Don’t have the app so it doesn’t ping. Just delete the app, then you don’t have Twitter or whatever other media platform it’s coming in on, so that’s the easiest way of omitting that from your mind.

Barry Geraghty got a load of abuse for almost taking the wrong course at Newbury on Champ a coupe of weeks ago. That was a bit of a mistake, but he got away with it.

To be getting stick for Champ’s subsequent fall on New Year’s Day in the Dipper Chase at Cheltenham was a bit harsh. The horse was getting low for a long way and the fall wasn’t that unexpected to me, to be honest. I think he’d taken a few chances throughout the course of the race.

In the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown last month, he delivered Fitzhenry at the perfect time, but the the saddle slipped on the runner-up.

I know Jack Kennedy came over the top to catch him in the last two strides, but Barry’s saddle went all the way back over the horse’s rear end! Yet the geniuses on all those platforms wouldn’t have even noticed that.

My favourite Karaoke song

I’ll go for something difficult, Bohemian Rhapsody or something like that… That’s about seven minutes long. If you go for the difficult ones, they never ask you to do it again.

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What do you think?