Cheltenham: Ruby Walsh reveals the trick to getting the best rides at the Festival

Hello, is that Michael?

Ruby Walsh Bellshill horse


Let’s be honest, if you’re a jockey you should have been preparing for Cheltenham long ago – not just now. By this stage it should all be in the bag.

If you are trying to get on horses at this stage in February, you’ve missed the boat. That work needs to have been done by last October at least.

You have to get in, build a relationship and then if a ride comes available by February, you’re automatically logged in someone’s memory. Trying to get on horses for Cheltenham now, alright there is one plum ride at the moment that’s going to be available and that’s Delta Work.

Davey Russell will have to ride Presenting Percy, Rachel Blackmore will be on Monalee Keith Donoghue did ride him at Down Royal and maybe he will take him?

It’s a super ride – there will be people hunting after that ride. I can absolutely guarantee that.

Delta Work wins the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup

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I don’t know what Barry Geraghty will ride in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, I don’t know what Mark Walsh will ride in the Gold Cup. There will be big names chasing after that particular ride.

But this is a one-off case. All the biggest and best rides should have long been sorted out – at least it was when I was riding.

So how do you go about getting them if a situation like Delta Work arose?

Michael O'Leary

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If it were me, I’d just pick up the phone and ring Michael O’Leary. I’d ring and say ‘I’ve no ride in the Gold Cup, your horse has a massive chance, I’ll ride him’.

At times between jockeys, some people will think you robbed rides off them. There would be a bit cattiness – but that’s human nature.

There’d be a bit of jealousy.

If an owner or trainer has decided they want to change their rider, someone else has to ride it.

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