Former top Jumps jockey, Kildare’s Ruby Walsh, spoke this week on the Paddy Power Media’s podcast, From The Horse’s Mouth on the return of racegoers in the UK, dangerous riding and on Castletownshend’s recent victory.
Ruby sees the return of crowds to racing as good for the sport. “Yeah but we saw them at The Crucible so they probably had to start somewhere. Looks like the UK Government are a bit ahead of the Irish here with what they’re willing to do and how they’re viewing participants coming back.
It is good for the sport – you read the finances, you listen to the people in Newton Abbot and how struggling they are, so you know spectators are vital to the industry, they’re vital to the finance of racecourses and it has to start somewhere. I just hope it lasts and you wonder come the winter season will it last?”
On the question of dangerous riding Walsh sees a difference between incidents. “I do agree that there is differences between incidents. I think if you look at what Seamie Heffernan did in Gowran Park, where he got a four-day ban that was reduced to three by simply nudging a horse on his left so it took the two horses touched side by side, there’s no danger in that, whereas Oisin Murphy unfortunately drifted across in front of the rider behind him. It made Paul Mulrennan’s horse clip his heel – there’s a little bit more danger in that obviously.
And that’s just because of where you are in the race – horses clipping heels can be dangerous, horses bumping off each other side by side there’s very little danger in that. I think it has been heightened and I don’t know is bigger bans the simple answer? I don’t believe it is – I think it’s a much bigger issue than that that’s going to take a lot of sorting out if people are so determined to sort it out”.
Ruby thought his father Ted winning and breaking Castletownshend’s maiden at Bellewstown at the 22nd attempt was a case of persistence. “Oh sure try and try again, is that the moral of the story? But Nathan Crosse managed to do something I couldn’t do – he won on Castletown and I failed three or four times.” he mused.