Ruby Walsh: My biggest Cheltenham regret and one race I’d want another crack at

Ruby and his dad Ted took a trip down memory lane in Paddy Power's special Racing Icons series

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Ruby Walsh and Ted Walsh were on the brink of glory back in 2002 with the father and son team chasing the dream of adding the Cheltenham Gold Cup to wins in the English and Irish Grand Nationals two years before.

In part two of Paddy Power’s Racing Icons series they both discussed the race, which was won by Best Mate, and Ruby’s claim the failure to claim victory is among the biggest regrets from his entire 24 years in the saddle.

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RUBY: The one Cheltenham race I’d most like to do again – the one that really stands out – is Commanche Court in the 2002 Gold Cup.

He won the Triumph Hurdle back in 1997 and I had led him up, with Norman Williamson riding. He won the Irish Grand National in 2000 two weeks after Papillon won the English Grand National.

It was a magical period for my dad Ted, the trainer of both, and the whole family.

The foot-and-mouth disease breakout in 2001 ruined the season, but come 2002 I was back on him for the Gold Cup.

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That was the first year Best Mate was going for it. I moved up the outside of See More Business and passed him, Commanche pricked his ears and prompted the second-last.

Best Mate got a wonderful run through.

I believe I could have won, but I think tactically I didn’t do the right thing.

Commanche-Court

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TED: He always puts that down as his biggest regret, not winning the Gold Cup on Commanche Court for me.

But I suppose it was because it was for me, and he knew there was little chance I might get another chance to win a Gold Cup with a small yard like we have.

 

RUBY: The chance was there. It presented itself beside me and in front of me, to put Best Mate in a pocket… and I didn’t take it.

TED: Ah, he was just being hard on himself, I think.

RUBY: (Is jokingly called an ejit by interviewer Paddy Power) Yeah, tell me about it!

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