It’s all over – Ruby Walsh has retired. Immediately after landing the Punchestown Gold Cup, delivering Kemboy under a typically ice cool ride, the 39-year-old announced the end to his long and esteemed career in the saddle.
I guess it doesn’t come entirely as a surprise, given rumours were making rounds in the last few weeks – even though, only a few days ago, on the back of the Irish Grand National, Ruby said he’s not done yet. Indeed, he wasn’t… not quite yet, at least.
To be honest, watching him celebrating exuberantly, and sometimes – or so it seemed to my eyes – taking the atmosphere in a bit more pronounced than in the past, indicated that something is coming to an end.
So, the man that will be forever associated with some of the biggest legends of our sport has left the scene. He did it in one piece. It’s the most important thing. Ruby, as far as I can judge from observing him on the racetracks of Ireland over the years, as well as on TV, has always conducted himself with great dignity, humility and a “down to earth” attitude.
Racing will be poorer without him in the saddle, though, I imagine we’ll see him becoming a regular face on TV as a pundit.
2.45 Musselburgh: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4.5f
A truly uncompetitive contest that should go to Kajaki who is ideally suited to this track, trip and likely ground, with the rain arriving probably even more so.
The gelding likes to be up with the pace, if not even attempting to make all. Clearly an advantage at Musselburgh in my book. He had a good comeback run at Pontefract recently and drops down to a handy mark.
Kajaki has won of 79 in the past and ran competitively of a mark as high as 84 last year. So down to 74 now the 6-year-old seems weighted to win.
10pts win – Kajaki @ 5/2 MB
3.15 Musselburgh: Class 6 Handicap, 5f
You can confidently take on the market principles in this contest. None looks particularly well handicapped. That leaves this race wide open and I think handicap debutant Brahma Kamal is interesting with Joe Fanning in the saddle.
The son of Equiano couldn’t have gotten a much lower opening mark, so I assume he’ll be ready to race today. He drops back to the minimum trip, which should suit as on his seasonal debut at Newcastle in February racing over 7f he broke well but was mad keen as well.
He’s not badly bred, out of a fair sprinting mare, while Equiano’s tend to do well when dropping in trip, particularly over the minimum trip.
10pts win – Brahma Kamal @ 9/1 MB
3.50 Musselburgh: Class 6 Handicap, 7f
Anything points to a big run for Be Bold today. He’s had a few fair runs on the All-Weather leading up to today, but he’s a much better horse on turf. Down to a sexy mark, given he won last year in spring of 54 and ran to TS 57, now on 51, he looks ripe for another victory.
David Allen in the saddle, even more so here at Musselburgh, appears to be a significant jockey booking as well as trainer and jockey have a strong record together.
10pts win – Be Bold @ 11/1 MB