Ruby Walsh is a two-time winner of the Grand NationalRuby Walsh has addressed concerns over his form for the first time, saying: “When you’re winning, you’re a hero. When you’re losing, you’re a villain.”
The all-time leading Cheltenham Festival jockey has been beaten on six favourites in his past 11 rides.
Walsh, 39 – who is number one jockey for Irish trainer Willie Mullins – had four consecutive falls in November.
But he told Paddy Power News: “I’m going a lot better than I was this time last year.”
Walsh has admitted he may have made mistakes when odds-on favourite Faugheen was beaten by stablemate Sharjah, ridden by Paul Townend, at Punchestown on Sunday.
Mullins had surprised some observers when appearing to question Walsh’s tactics in a post-race interview.
‘Maybe we did too much’ – Walsh on Faugheen
The brilliant 2015 champion hurdler Faugheen – nicknamed ‘The Machine’ – vied for the early lead with Tombstone, owned by champion trainer Mullins’ rivals the Gigginstown House Stud.
Townend, the talented understudy who deputised for Walsh during injury spells earlier this year, was praised by Mullins for biding his time and coming through for victory.
“You’re never going to get any better if you don’t realise you’re making mistakes,” said Walsh, whose catalogue of career injuries including breaking a leg at Punchestown almost exactly a year ago before another break four months later at the Festival.
“I set out on Faugheen doing what I thought was right on paper but it didn’t work out. You can’t live your life in hindsight and you can’t change what’s gone by. You can only go forward.
“Faugheen had been showing plenty of spark at home and I thought there would be more of a turn of foot. Maybe Willie is right, maybe we did too much for the first mile of the race.”
More to follow