Thursday 22 August 2019

Five moments of magic in a career that will never be forgotten

Papillon won by a length and a quarter and a star was born. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Papillon won by a length and a quarter and a star was born. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.

Ian Gaughran

1 The legend begins

Papillon was Ruby's first ride in the Aintree Grand National in 2000 and was trained by his father Ted. After a massive public gamble where he was backed from 25/1 into 10/1, Papillon (below) won by a length and a quarter and a star was born.

2 Greatest of partnerships

There was no better sight than Kauto Star in full flow and he and Ruby were a match made in heaven.

All class, just like his jockey, Kauto Star could do it all, while giving punters plenty of scares along the way. Five King Georges, four Betfair Chases, two Gold Cups and two Tingle Creeks were won by one of the greatest ever.

3 Annie, are you ok?

There are always ups and downs as a jockey but there were few bigger downers for Ruby than Annie Power's final-flight fall in the Mares' Hurdle in 2015.

After a momentous day where Ruby had already ridden three Willie Mullins hotpots to victory, the fall was credited as saving the bookmaking industry but Annie returned a year later and got her redemption with a Champion Hurdle win.

4 Denman really was the man

They won the Lexus and the RSA together but one of the great days in National Hunt racing came at Newbury in 2009.

It was The Tank's second win in the race but it came while giving a stone in weight to his nearest rivals in the handicap and tore the roof off the grandstands when he stormed home to win.

5 Out on his own terms

After Annie Power's 2016 Champion Hurdle win, Ruby said: "How would I quit the dream? I'd love to get off one in Punchestown, pull the saddle off and tell Willie I won't be out for the next one. That's how I would do it if I had my choice, but you don't often get to do things your own way or have a choice in these things."

Ruby certainly went out on his own terms yesterday.

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