Irish Champion Stakes: Ruby Walsh reveals how Aidan O’Brien’s runners can beat Ghaiyyath

Ruby expects the Ballydoyle brigade to have a plan

Ghaiyyath William Buick Newmarket


Ruby Walsh believes Aidan O’Brien’s trio of runners must work together if they’re going to stop Ghaiyyath from winning the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday.

Speaking on the latest episode of Paddy Power’s From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, the 41-year-old feels the Ballydoyle challenge must try something different to beat the Godolphin-owned star after nine victories in 12 outings – including four from four this year.

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Ghaiyyath has been in incredible form this season, from the Coronation Cup at Newmarket where he beat stayers in Stradivarius and Anthony van Dyck to the Eclipse where he got a bit of a solo out front where he was allowed to completely dictate it, steady the race up around the bottom bend and stroll away up the Esher Hill to beat Enable and Japan.

He then went to York where he beat Magical and was allowed to gallop along in front at a much higher tempo then see them off really well. It’ll be interesting as there is no doubt Ballydoyle have to try something. Ghaiyyath is coming into Aidan O’Brien’s back yard so they’re going to throw everything at him.

They have to try something different and have to mix it up. That may be sending Armory with Ghaiyyath and keeping him honest. They’re not going to be bumping and banging off him but they could send one with him and keep him honest all the way.

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We saw in last year’s Arc, when Ghaiyyath did get racing a stride faster than he wanted to be going, he folded. Magical followed him in last year’s Arc and she folded as well. Maybe that could set it up for Japan or Sottsass coming from off the pace but with the form Ghiayyath has been in this year – I wasn’t with him before but I find it so hard to oppose him now.

It won’t be a surprise to William Buick if the stalls open and Armory shoots forward from the outside draw in six. He will pre-empt that – that’s what top jockeys do.

He will have run this race over 100 ways in his head, and Ghaiyyath in the past has broken slowly. He broke slowly in last year’s Prix de l’Arc and he broke slowly in the Eclipse as well. So if he breaks slowly in stall three, and both Magical and Japan break quickly around him, they could very well close the door and have Ghaiyyath boxed in.

That could all happen and William Buick will have run that scenario in his mind, but all is fair in love and war. If Ghaiyyath jumps and Armory goes with him, who’s to say William Buick won’t just sit on Armory’s boot and force him to go faster than he’s able?

Ghaiyyath William Buick York

That’s what tactics are, and no sport the world over is any different. You have to look at ways to try and beat the opposition.

I rode Min in the Champion Chase to try and beat Altior – it didn’t work but I had to try something different, and Ballydole have to try something different to beat Ghaiyyath here.

They can’t just do the same that they did at Newmarket, Sandown and York and expect to get a different result.

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