Friday 24 May 2019

Walsh hailed ‘the greatest’ - Legend McCoy lauds retiring jockey ‘as best I’ve ever seen’

Ruby Walsh goes out with a splash as he is soaked by fellow jockeys after announcing his retirement from racing only minutes after steering Kemboy to victory
in the Punchestown Gold Cup at yesterday. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Ruby Walsh goes out with a splash as he is soaked by fellow jockeys after announcing his retirement from racing only minutes after steering Kemboy to victory in the Punchestown Gold Cup at yesterday. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Ruby Walsh has been described as the "Messi of racing" by legendary jockey Tony McCoy after he called time on his glittering career following Kemboy's epic victory in the Punchestown Gold Cup yesterday.

It was a 213th Grade One success for the all-conquering Walsh as he hung up his saddle at his local track, having etched his place in racing folklore forever with a staggering CV of the game's richest prizes.

With 59 Cheltenham Festival winners - including two Gold Cups, four Champion Hurdles, three Champion Chases and five Stayers' Hurdles - few come remotely close to the Kildare pilot's lengthy achievements.

McCoy - the most successful jumps jockey of all time in terms of winners - hailed the 39-year-old rider, synonymous with racing greats like Kauto Star, Denman, Big Buck's and Hurricane Fly, as the best ever.

"He's like Messi playing football. You can't teach what he does. You can teach people to a point, but you either have it or you don't. He has it. He's a genius. You knew you had to be on you're A game to be competing with someone like him. He was just better on a horse than everyone, that was the long and short of it.

"He was the best jockey I've ever seen. He had everything. There was no weakness there. Tactically very good, people had no idea of the strength of mind, what he went through. I had a few injuries, but nothing like what he had. To keep coming back showed he was unbelievably strong."

Walsh's long-time boss Willie Mullins echoed those sentiments, saying: "He was the epitome of cool riding horses. No matter what you threw at him, he'd find a way around it. It was all about getting going again after injuries. There was no lying down."

Irish Independent

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