Ruby Walsh has opened up on his experiences of working in the media, including when he was blanked by former Republic of Ireland international Stephen Hunt after some unsuccessful tips.
Our resident jockey-turned-pundit has no trouble dishing out the criticism – and he’s usually bang on the money – but gets frustrated when punters expect him to be able to see the future.
Speaking to Paddy Power and brand ambassador Peter Crouch on the latest episode of our From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, Ruby lifted the lid on how he views punditry and how he reacted to negative reports during his riding career.
“With punditry, you’re there to analyse the sport and after the race it is so easy,” revealed Ruby. “But people expect a lot of you before a race or before a game [in Peter’s case] – almost as if they think you can see the future. But all you’re giving is your opinion.
“I found it very difficult to get across to people that it was only my opinion about what was going to happen, and this might not happen.
“It’s only your opinion about what way you think it’s going to be, but people look to pundits and ask ‘are they going to highlight mistakes?’ In my sport, that means am I going to highlight when a jockey has done wrong?
“I have no problem doing it because basically what I’m saying normally isn’t wrong! When you’re criticising someone you’re only stating the facts, so I have no problem with it.
“It didn’t bother me when I would read a report criticising me, as long as they were right. It’s when someone gave an opinion that was wrong, then I would say ‘why would you even write that?’
“If I’d given a horse a bad ride and someone wrote that I should have done X, Y and Z and they were right, you couldn’t argue with them. But when you’ve read a report or a statement that was factually wrong, that did annoy me.”
Having hung up his helmet in 2019, Ruby now fills his time with a host of media commitments including acting as a television pundit for multiple different outlets.
That means our main man is often seen out and about at racetracks and badgered for his take on the upcoming card, but this added attention was already present during his riding days.
And Ruby fell out with some famous faces after offering a couple of unsuccessful tips in the Cheltenham carpark on one occasion.
“I went to Cheltenham one year and met John O’Shea and Stephen Hunt coming up the hill going into the races.
“Hunty comes running across the carpark. He stops me and goes ‘what’s going on, what’s going to happen!?’
“I said X, Y and Z – whatever. And I think one or two of them might have won, but then I was coming through Dublin Airport a few weeks later and he was in front of me in the queue at security.
“I said ‘Stephen, how are you?’ and he just said ‘them tips, them tips’ and kept walking. He came running across the carpark to me, but when the tips didn’t go in he would barely talk to me!”
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