Ruby Walsh: I once used a sauna to sweat 4lbs on the morning of a race

Ruby reveals the drastic lengths he would go to make race weight in the latest episode of Paddy Power’s From The Horse’s Mouth podcast



The 2013 Nakayama Grand Jump in Japan was probably the most weight I had to ‘sweat’ before a race in my career. I had to lose 4lbs that morning in sweat.

I did it in a sauna and a hot tub but you can use a sweatsuit and run, or jump in a car with a sweatsuit on and drive to the races. There’s loads of ways of losing weight that way, it but it’s just basically sweat.

I’ve watched lads lose way more than 4lbs in days gone by. Former jockey John Cullen was an animal at losing weight. He could lose 8 or 9lbs in a day no problem.

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I didn’t try to lose too much weight in one go. I always thought it was counterproductive. If you’re sweating off 4lbs, chances are you would put back on 5lbs. It was quick dehydration and never suited me.

I always found my weight yo-yoing after. It was very hard to keep it steady, so I didn’t do it unless there was plenty of prize money – and my percentage of it – to make it worth my while.

At 6pm the night before the Nakayama Grand Jump I had to go on-site to the racecourse.

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There was a hotel for the jockeys, and in keeping with Japanese etiquette you take off your shoes and put on slippers and while they didn’t take my mobile phone, I had to turn it off.

You are literally in quarantine then until you ride the race. No contact with the outside world. There’s a phone there that you could use, run by the Japan Racing Association. There was also a  kitchen and a couple of saunas.

By the time I rode Blackstairmountain I was 9st 5lbs, having finished sweating. It was a rock bottom weight for me.

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There was plenty of thought and consideration that went into the race preparation, and it was great to see the facilities that the Japanese had.

I would have struggled to do that weight in Ireland, any day of the week. But the facilities they had on-site for the Japanese jockeys, it was brilliant.


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