Finding success at racing horses comes naturally to Ruby Walsh. The Irish jockey is the son of legendary amateur jockey Ted Walsh and has become a legend in his own right with a string of victories on the racetrack.
To date, Walsh has ridden more than 1400 winners while competing as a jockey. This number includes 30 winners at the Cheltenham Festival alone since 1998. Walsh set a new record at the festival in 2009 when he rode seven winners in a four day span. He set a new mark for career victories at the Cheltenham Festival in 2010.
He begin to emerge as a force to be reckoned with in the horse racing world when he won consecutive Irish Amateur titles in 1997 and 1998. After registering these victories, Walsh turned professional and won the English Grand National in 2000. He was just 20 years old at the time and won while competing in the race for the first time. Walsh rode Papillon, a horse that his father helped to train. He and his father capped off a successful year with another victory at Irish Grand National. Walsh rode another horse, Commanche Court, to secure this favourable outcome.
Walsh earned recognition for his incredible feats as a jockey in 2007 when he was awarded the inaugural British Horseracing Board Jockeys’ Order of Merit award.
All of this success has come for Walsh even while he has dealt with a number of serious injuries that could have potentially derailed or setback his career. The worst injuries came in 1999 when Walsh had gone to the former Czechoslovakia to prepare for the Great Pardubice Steeplechase and broke his leg during a practice ride on the course. Walsh managed to recover from the initial break, only to break it again a short time later while schooling a horse. Breaking the same leg twice ended up sidelining Walsh a total of five months, but it did not prevent him from returning in time to win the English Grand National a year after his injury.
Walsh has remained a frequent visitor to hospitals in subsequent years. The list of injuries he has overcome is nothing short of astonishing. Walsh has suffered a broken wrist twice, broken his elbow bone, cracked or bruised several vertebrae in his neck and back, dislocated both shoulders, dislocated one hip and fractured the other hip.
None of those injuries have become obstacles keeping him from building a reputation as one of the most dominant Irish jockeys to compete in the modern era of horse racing. Walsh rode 200 winners in consecutive seasons from 2006 to 2008. He rode his 1,000th winner in May, 2008 when he claimed victory with his horse Rare Article at Sligo.