Ruby Walsh is one of the most legendary figures of horse racing.
Walsh turned professional at 19 years of age and has never looked back in a career that has spanned 20 years.
At 39, most professional athlete’s careers would be over, or at least coming to an end and Walsh has had a tough run of injuries in the past number of months that included a nasty leg break in Punchestown.
Surely, sustaining such injuries at 39 years of age would deter you. Not Walsh though, if anything he feels jockeys are like a fine wine. They only get better with age.
“I think when you get beyond 35 as a jump jockey everyone starts wondering when you’re going to call it a day. But we’re fitter now than guys used to be, and I don’t see myself pulling the plug any time soon.” The Paddy Power racing brand ambassador said.
“That’s thing thing about riding, the older you get the more experienced you get and the cleverer you get. It’s not like football or soccer or rugby. It doesn’t matter if I lose eight yards of speed, I’ve never had to move anyway.”
So Walsh has no plans of retiring any time soon, but does he have a plan on how he will retire when the time eventually comes?
Walsh’s dream retirement sounds just as poetic as he looked when winning the 2016 Champion Hurdle on Annie Power.
“How would I quit the dream? I’d love to get off one in Punchestown, pull the saddle off and tell Willie that 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.”
There are few riders that have given fans more entertainment down through the years than Walsh, although he feels that in order to improve racing as a whole it needs to become even more entertaining for spectators.
“I think we need to make it more entertaining. It’s difficult in the winter, but in the summer months the cards should be mixed, there should be jump racing and flat racing alternatively every 15 minutes. I’m not talking about more concerts or best dressed lady competitions. There’s too much hanging around.”