Monday 19 August 2019

Tributes paid to 'best jockey ever'

'It’s a sad day, it’s a great day. I think it’ll be a long time before we see his like again.' Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
'It’s a sad day, it’s a great day. I think it’ll be a long time before we see his like again.' Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile Sportsdesk

Willie Mullins, champion trainer - "It came completely out of the blue. I thought 'wow, that's the end of some era, Ruby's riding career and our partnership too'. Anytime he got injured at least I knew he'd be back.

"First ride I gave him was in a bumper at Leopardstown, a big-runner field on a filly that was very difficult to ride and he won on her. He was 16 years of age and I thought, 'this is the guy for us'.

"He was cool as a cucumber and he would have everything assessed. He knew more than anyone else what might go on. If Plan A didn't work, he had Plan B and C up his sleeve. He was the epitome of cool riding horses.

JP McManus, owner - "It might be easier to win a race now! He was up there at the top, very professional in everything he did. It was nice that he went out on his terms, I'd like to wish him a happy retirement."

Tony McCoy, jockey - "He was just better on a horse than everyone, that was the long and short of it. I'm not shocked, I'd a little inclination, he looked that the time was right. It was hard, he gave that horse as good a ride as anyone could ever give a horse.

"He was the best jockey I've ever seen. He had everything. There was no weakness there."

Ted Walsh, father, trainer and pundit - "He was always well able to ride but nobody could see the mind that he had - to deal with the adversity and to be able to handle the pressure of the big occasion. A bit like Tiger Woods at Augusta, he got to master Cheltenham very early on and from early on he was good on the big occasion.

"He was never cocky, but always confident, and he was also able to ride for two of the greatest trainers we've ever seen in Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls."

David Casey, former jockey and Mullins's assistant trainer - "It's a sad day, it's a great day. I think it'll be a long time before we see his like again. He brought the game to a new level, himself and AP (McCoy) before him. He was someone for every young jockey to aspire to.

"He'll be well missed, but I wish him the best of luck. I've been with him together at Willie's for something like 25 years.

"He mentioned it last week that it was probably going to happen if everything fell into place.

"He's my best pal, I might get to spend some more time with him now out of work."

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