Ruby Walsh. Pic: Supplied.
Acknowledged as the greatest steeplechase jockey that we have ever produced, Ruby Walsh has ridden winners in practically every corner of the racing world and he makes no bones of the fact the Kildare native — who retired at the Festival having just won the Punchestown Gold Cup on Kemboy back in 2019 — that his favourite track of them all is his local one, Punchestown, just a short few miles down the road from where he was born and reared in Kill.
Now comes the news from the home of National Hunt Racing that Ruby is to become Punchestown Brand Champion in a move that will see the 12 time champion jockey officially champion the home of Irish jump racing.
Punchestown has been the stage for many highlights of Walsh’s illustrious career. Now a new chapter begins.
In addition to a history-making career between the rails the 42-year old has successfully transitioned to broadcast pundit, presenter and columnist.
For Walsh Punchestown is personal.
His new role at the home of Irish jump racing extends beyond that of brand ambassador, consultant, expert or advisor. Walsh will work alongside the Punchestown team as they continue to improve, enhance and safeguard the future of the iconic racecourse.
“For me Punchestown is home and there's no where like home. It's is such a special place for me and my family. It’s always been a massive part of my life ever since I was a kid riding ponies and now I bring my own girls there for pony camp.
“From the festival in spring to the launch of the national hunt proper in the autumn I always seem to be at Punchestown whatever the season. This is more than a passion project and I will focus on areas that I consider to be key to the quality and appeal of racing such as attracting more UK runners to the festival and throughout the season.
“It’s a fantastic track with brilliant prize money and great hospitality for connections.”
Come 2023 Punchestown will be celebration its 200 year and that in itself is another massive milestone.
“Obviously whilst I won’t be around to see it I’d like to make a contribution and play my part in safe guarding the home of Irish jump racing for another 200 years,” says Walsh.
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