Born Rupert Walsh in County Kildare on the 14th May 1979, the affectionately named ‘Ruby’ is a highly decorated jump jockey with a list of achievements as long as it is impressive. He has been Irish National Hunt Champion jockey no less than 12 times and the leading jockey at the Cheltenham Festival almost every year since 2004, only failing to claim the honour twice in that period.
He is the son of amateur champion jockey, Ted Welsh and he showed exceptional talent at an early age, twice winning the Irish amateur title in 1997 and 1998, shortly before he became a professional.
Grand National Champion
The promise he showed an as amateur would continue, as he claimed his first major prize, winning the Grand National on Papillon at the tender age of 20. The Mrs J Maxwell Moran owned horse was trained by his father and the achievement was even more notable given that it was his very first ride in the National. Ruby Walsh has won this blue ribbon event once since, triumphing on Hedgehunter in 2006.
It has not all be glitz and glory for Ruby, as he has endured a number of major injuries over the years, with the most serious being the broken leg he sustained in 1999, racing in the Czech Republic. Added to that was another break of the same leg, shortly before his success with Papillon. This succession of personal injuries has thankfully done nothing to dull the his passion for the sport, as he has seemed to come back stronger on each occasion.
Fame and Fortune
A glittering career that has still considerable time to run has propelled Ruby Walsh firmly into the public eye, with the jockey featuring on a TV documentary about jump jockeys and in a song by Christy Moore aptly named “The Ballad of Ruby Walsh”.
There isn’t much that Walsh still left to achieve, but with a hat trick of Grand National winners to aim for, its unlikely we’ll see him retiring any time soon.