Ruby Walsh: 'I lay on the ground thinking, "This isn't for me anymore"'
Ruby Walsh has said his falls on Let's Dance at Punchestown in 2017 and Al Boum Photo at Cheltenham in 2018 made him realise he did not want to continue riding – and says the only part of the job he now misses is winning.
Walsh was speaking to the Racing Post as part of a big interview in Sunday's newspaper in which he discusses his legendary career, the switch to punditry, social media abuse and 'that' fall on Annie Power.
Walsh said: "The part you miss is winning. When Faugheen won at the Dublin Racing Festival last year, did I want to be on his back when he walked back into the parade ring? Of course I did. But that was only about two per cent of the effort that's required and I most certainly haven't missed any of the other 98 per cent. I miss the winning."
Asked when he realised the remaining 98 per cent was not worth it, he said: "It was probably on Let's Dance when I broke my leg at Punchestown [in November 2017]. To spend four months working hard to recover from that, aiming to be back for Cheltenham and then getting back and winning on Footpad and Benie on the Tuesday.
"You're going out the next day on Al Boum Photo in the RSA and you still have a clatter of good rides to come. Then he tips up and you break your leg again. You're lying there thinking, 'How? Why? This just isn't for me anymore'. I was another three or four months then."
Walsh carried on until Punchestown in 2019, though, determined to go out on a high, which he did after Kemboy's win in the Punchestown Gold Cup.
"My journey was a dream and I was never going to end it with a nightmare. It's probably stupid, stubborn, whatever you want to call it, but I wanted to finish it my way. It was never going to finish me."
Recalling that win, Walsh added: "I knew when Kemboy jumped the last and I pulled the stick through into my left hand, and realised Al Boum wasn't coming back at me, that I was 150 yards from the end. I knew it was my last ever 150 yards, but it was 150 yards that I couldn't wait to finish, not 150 yards that I couldn't wait to come."
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