Tributes Pour In As Ruby Walsh Prepares For Life After Racing

Tributes Pour In As Ruby Walsh Prepares For Life After Racing
By Aonghus Ó Maicín Updated

"Ruby is the best I've seen," said Willie Mullins.

And if the champion trainer hasn't witnessed any better, it's a long shot that any of the rest of us have.

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But Mullins wasn't alone in heaping praise upon the jockey who rode his final winner aboard Kemboy in today's feature race at Punchestown, the Punchestown Gold Cup.

As impressive as Kemboy - now the favourite for next year's Cheltenham Gold Cup - was bounding away from the last today, it's his rider who has dominated the headlines in the hours since. Trainers and jockeys alike were quick to praise the former jockey on a long career that came to an conclusion around his local track in Kildare.

Tony McCoy, a man who spent the majority of his career in Walsh's company, drew comparisons between the champion jcokey and Lionel Messi in an attempt to sum up the 39-year-old's ability.

He was the best jockey I ever rode against. He's like Lionel Messi playing football - you cannot teach kids how to be like that. He's just different.

Current riders Davy Russell and Barry Geraghty also paid tributes to the man who broke numerous records in the sport throughout a lengthy career.

Geraghty, who is currently recuperating from injury, spoke about Walsh's ability to strike fear into opponents saying, "he was a very hard man to get passed and definitely not someone you would want to see at your boot on the run to the last." Russell, likewise, spoke of the high standards the jockey set.

He said:

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If you could compete with Ruby, you could compete with anyone.

As well as steering numerous Wille Mullins runners to big wins over the years, Walsh brought a bounty of success to Paul Nicholls too, including two Gold Cups at the Cheltenham Festival. The Ditcheat trainer referred to his former stable jockey as a "top class man and a top class jockey."

There's no doubt Walsh will be missed in the sport. Nevertheless, his wife Gillian admitted to feeling a lot of relief after her husband confirmed his decision.

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We're so lucky for him to retire this way, on his own terms.... it's a dream come through; you couldn't have written it.

SEE ALSO: Watch: Ruby Walsh Fights Back The Tears After Announcing Retirement

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