Providing live sports commentary - despite what many people watching at home may feel - is a very difficult job. Commentators are asked to be both insightful and entertaining. It's hard to tick both boxes without looking foolish from time to time, as Ruby Walsh learned today.
The Cleeve Hurdle was run this afternoon at Cheltenham. Paisley Park has won the race for the past two years, and went into this afternoon's racing under threat from a dangerous field that included the Nicky Henderson-trained Champ.
Paisley Park - ridden by Galway man Aidan Coleman - made things even tougher for himself by making a complete hames of the start. He found himself twenty lengths back, and it seemed like his race was run.
Watching in the ITV punditry box was Ruby Walsh, who like most people watching at home, considered Paisley Park done for.
The Cleeve is a three-mile race so there was still time for a miracle, but when asked how a jockey should handle such a woeful start, Ruby Walsh opined there was no point trying.
"You just give up and just go back in to the parade ring. He's running a race he can't possibly win."
Ruby Walsh on Paisley Park
That comment aged well @Ruby_Walsh 🤣🤣🤣🤣 . Go on the Paisley @itvracing pic.twitter.com/LOqPEoNm6O
— lee pearce (@leepearce1981) January 29, 2022
Luckily Aidan Coleman didn't take Ruby Walsh's advice. Incredibly Paisley Park stormed back to pass Champ as they two raced up that famous Cheltenham hill and win the race. It caps an incredible three-in-a-row in the Cleve for the gritty 10-year-old horse.
😍 He's back!
Astonishing stuff as Paisley Park wins a third Cleeve Hurdle at the expense of Champ after fluffing the start and looking in big trouble.
🐴 What a warrior for @ELavelleracing and @AidanColeman.@CheltenhamRaces @ChapelStud pic.twitter.com/7p2SyV0cFC
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) January 29, 2022
You can see the terrible start that Paisley Park makes here - he nearly missed the race entirely!
💫Land Rover Grade 2 winner 💫
Paisley Park won his third 🥇🥇🥇Cleeve Hurdle @CheltenhamRaces for @ELavelleracing & Andrew Gemmell
The @coolmorestud Oscar 10yo was bred by @MichealC12 & sold by @BallincurrigHse to @GerryHoganBS
— Goffs (@Goffs1866) January 29, 2022
Speaking afterwards, Coleman said the horse has been known to throw a wobbler at the start of races.
"Just before the tape came down, I gave him a yank and a belt down the neck to say, 'cop on, I know what you're thinking'. And he did it anyway...I said to him you got yourself in this mess you get yourself out of this."
And he did. With the win, the 10-year-old is now priced 8-1 to win the Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Social media was quick to react to Ruby's pronouncement.
“You may as well go back to the parade ring, you’re not gonna win from there”
Paisley Park: pic.twitter.com/CxF3Ct2jlt
— LP (@Lakesidepunter) January 29, 2022