Ruby Walsh: We’ll never end dangerous riding… jockeys just have to get on with it

Ruby Walsh's word is final, OK?

Ruby Walsh


The issue of dangerous riding reared its head again last week after some controversial decisions, place changes and steward’s enquiries.

But Ruby, who won over 1,000 races, thinks it can never be stamped out and that jockeys just have to get on with it and take the rough with the smooth in the hustle and bustle of races.

Speaking on this week’s From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, which you can hear in full below or wherever you get your pods from, Ruby gave his opinions on dangerous riding.

“I think just get on with it – I don’t think it will ever change, it will always be a topic of conversation,” Ruby explained, “I think trying to make what’s grey black and white becomes very difficult, but I don’t think it’s any different to any other sport, well barring certain sports.

“I mean rules are rules in golf and tennis, but in other sports lots of rules are subjective. If you look at the breakdown of a rugby match – one referee calls a foul, another referee doesn’t.

“If you look at a soccer match even with VAR – what’s a foul, what’s not a foul? And even what’s offside – your fingernail, your toe, they can’t even make their mind up on that one.

“I think when it comes down to interference in horse racing, it will always be subjective as well. I don’t think you can make the grey black and white – I think it’s been a tad dramatised about the danger of it – horse racing has always and will always be dangerous, but look I don’t ride anymore so whatever they decide to do is up to them.

“But I think you’re trying to make grey black and white and that’s not possible. They’ve already made grey black and white with the whip and that’s backfired.”


One constant complaint is the absence of jockeys on stewards panels. However, Ruby is adamant that won’t make any different to the quality of the rulings handed down at race tracks.

“Should there be a jockey on the panel? No.” Ruby continued, “It’s not because that’s like saying as a soccer player ‘oh what does the referee know?’ The referee is only implementing the rules so that’s what he knows is the rules.

“The same goes for stewards – they’re implementing the rules, so no I never took that opinion. I would always have stood there and tried to argue my corner as to why the interference happened and what could have prevented interference happening.

“But no, you can’t go in thinking ‘I know more than you’ because at the end of the day it is only opinion and I think therefore yeah you could explain situations but I think when you look at the rules around the world and the harmonisation of racing, when you see that France and other jurisdictions have moved away from the black and white of interference and emotion, why all of a sudden are we crying for that in England and Ireland?”


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