Ruby Walsh: How Grand National crowd almost tricked me into thinking I wouldn’t win

Ruby was speaking about his second National win in 2005 aboard Hedgehunter on the latest episode of our From the Horse's Mouth Podcast.



The run down from the final jump at Aintree to the finish line always looks like a long distance on the TV.

Well, you want to be on one of the runners and see how long it feels – it’s twice as long!

It’s generally the tone and roar of the crowd that gives you a clue about how you’re doing.

But it can be confusing as well. You can think there’s something coming.

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When I won on Hedgehunter back in 2005 and I got to the elbow and looked like winning. The crowd then exploded, and I thought there was something coming.

But there wasn’t – they were just delighted because the favourite was going to win!

Nowadays you can use the big screens to help you. I was able to do that a little bit on Hedgehunter.

But on Papillon when he won back in 2000 there were very few screens. There’s way more now.

It also used to be louder back then too. There was a crowd at Beecher’s and a crowd at the Canal Turn too – actual spectators with stands.


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They are not there now, as they’re all on the run to the first fence instead in the extra stands.

It has changed in that sense. Now it actually gets quite quiet when you jump the third fence until you come back to the second last.

But in those days you went from noise to quiet, noise to quiet. But it’s still the case now that when you got into the home straight or jump the last fence, it’s very hard to hear horses coming behind you.


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You can forget tactics a little bit too. Horses either take to Aintree or don’t.

It’s very hard in a four-mile or so to judge the pace. You just have to your best to get the horse as comfortable as possible.

It’s best just to keep your ride in its comfort zone and keep him there for as long as possible.


What do you think?