Ridiculous Ruby Walsh stat after opening day just sums the man up
It wouldn't be the Cheltenham Festival without Ruby Walsh riding a winner.
Ruby Walsh was never going to miss this. Five months ago, Cheltenham's most successful ever jockey broke his fibia in his right leg after a crashing fall to the Punchestown turf.
Doubts emerged about his participation in the Cheltenham Festival. The recommended recovery time for such an injury would mean he'd be touch and go, but this is what Ruby Walsh does.
Just in the nick of time, the Kildare jockey returned to action last week when he rode a winner in Thurles. It's March. This is Ruby's time.
This 38-year-old is tough as nuts. He's broken nearly every bone in his body from his jaw to his vertebra to his ankle. The iron man of racing still always comes back for more adrenaline, for more punishment, for more wins.
Just like all of these jockeys, he's small in stature and size but he more than compensates for that with a lion heart and courage to beat the band.
We all knew Ruby would be there. Cheltenham wouldn't be the same without him. It wouldn't be held without him.
Getabird disappointed in the first, under the 56 time winner in the Cotswolds, but it wasn't long before he turned that into 57.
Footpad went into the Arkle Chase as the heavily supported favourite. Petit Mouchoir set a relentless pace in the early stages but Ruby was just biding his time.
When Simon Munir's sprightly 8-year-old strided up alongside Gordon Elliott's charge down the hill, you knew there was only going to be one result.
He bolted away up the run in to deliver the most familiar sight of all. Ruby Walsh celebrating on top of Cleeve hill.
Just stop and look at those numbers for a second.
57 Cheltenham wins. For most jockeys, it would be a dream come true to ride only one on this famous week. Ruby has done it every single festival since 2002 when he won the Handicap Chase aboard Blowing Wind. He's been the champion jockey for nine of the last ten festivals. That's longevity. That's class.
Walsh and Mullins weren't done there. They went on to pull off a big shock in the Mares' Hurdle, with their 9/2 shot Benie Des Dieux powering up the home straight to condemn red hot favourite Apple's Jade to defeat, and in turn, hosts of punters to crushing losses of accumulators and doubles and trebles.
That was Ruby's 58th win in festival history.