Ruby Walsh: Why the English Triple Crown is harder than ever to complete

It's been 50 years since Nijinsky secured the English Triple Crown.

Ruby Walsh


Ruby Walsh believes the English Triple Crown is harder to win than ever before due to a shift in the way racehorses are being bred.

Nijinsky is the last thoroughbred to win the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, The Derby at Epsom and the St Leger at Doncaster, completing the hat-trick 50 years ago this week.

Speaking on the latest episode of Paddy Power’s From The Horse’s Mouth podcast in the wake of Galileo Chrome’s St Leger victory on Saturday, Ruby explains how the stud value of a horse is reflected more in speed than stamina.

You look at how many horses have tried and failed to secure the Triple Crown since Nijinsky – Camelot was the most recent to get there in 2012, but you see how difficult it is.

To go from winning over a mile at Newmarket in the spring to a mile and six furlongs at Doncaster in September, it takes an incredible amount to do.

I think the reason we don’t see as many horses trying it now is the way that breeding has gone, with an appetite for faster horses.

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Why would you let your supreme colt, who has won at a mile [in the Guineas] and then a mile and a half [in the Derby], go to the St Leger and try to win over a mile and six furlongs when as a stallion he is more attractive in the Irish Champion Stakes at 10 furlongs?

I think that’s why we don’t see as many horses doing it, which is a pity but that’s what happens.

If you look at Sea The Stars, could he have won the St Leger? Of course he could, but he turned up at Leopardstown to win the Champion Stakes then went and won the Arc and became the superstar that he is.

That’s the real issue.


Our very own Paddy Power agreed with Ruby, pointing out that the financial incentive of dropping back down in trip instead of entering the St Leger is the more attractive prospect.

When looking at the Derby, you often try to stretch out a fast horse and hope he sees out the mile and half. It’s just a step too far to get another two furlongs out of him. Especially if you’re fast enough to win a Guineas.

Maybe the horses these days are just different. Maybe there were more staying types back in the day, but if you have a horse good enough to win the Guineas and the Derby, you would be more likely to go down the Sea The Stars route now.

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