Having partnered Kemboy to victory in the Grade 1 Punchestown Gold Cup on Wednesday, Ruby Walsh announced his retirement from the saddle. The Irishman has enjoyed a magnificent career and ridden some of the greatest horses of the modern era. He will be forever associated with the likes of Kauto Star, Big Buck's, Master Minded and Denman, plus a host of top-class horses trained by Willie Mullins. From a personal point of view, he enjoyed a tremendous amount of success aboard triple Cheltenham Festival winner Vautour. His victory in the JLT Novice Chase in 2015 was devastating and will live long in the memory.
Walsh is set to pursue a career in the media and I am sure he will prove a big hit. I have been fortunate enough to work with Ruby on a number of occasions, including at Aintree and Royal Ascot last year. His knowledge is second to none and, given the fact he doesn't speak for the sake of it, anything he says is worth listening to. All being well, I will get the opportunity to work with him again on Racing TV in the not too distant future. There is an excellent article titled 'Words of Wisdom' with Ruby on the Racing Post website - his comments regarding 'On people' and 'On journalists' is spot on.
Switching codes, the Top 40 Prospects has endured a sticky couple of days. However, I thought Red Impression shaped with a huge amount of encouragement at Chelmsford on Thursday evening. Roger Charlton's string have yet to hit top gear (0 from 25 in April and 0 from 3 in May thus far) and the daughter of Dark Angel was drawn widest of all in the thirteen runner Listed event over six furlongs. Jason Watson had no option but to drop his mount out and was last on the approach to the home turn. She was pulled wide and finished with a rattle on the outside only to be denied by half a length. It was a terrific run in the circumstances and I have no doubt she is a top-class sprinter in the making. Her stable will hopefully hit form soon and it will be interesting to see if she is steered towards the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot even though her owner is also responsible for ante-post favourite Calyx.
I was working at Redcar on Thursday and spoke to Karl Burke. In addition to discussing Liverpool's demise in Barcelona the previous evening, he informed me that front cover horse Kadar will head to York later this month for the Group 2 Dante Stakes. The son of Scat Daddy reportedly hated the fast ground in the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket's Craven meeting on his reappearance.
The Middleham trainer sent out Lady In France (11/4) to win on her debut at Newcastle on Friday evening. The daughter of Showcasing, who is featured in the Unraced Three Year Olds section of Ahead On The Flat, was bought for 210,000gns and is a half-sister to high-class sprinter Stepper Point. Ridden by Danny Tudhope in the five furlongs novice event, she only had to be pushed out hands and heels to win a shade cosily. Held in high regard at Spigot Lodge, she is a nice prospect and one to follow.
It is a big weekend for Ahead On The Flat with three runners in the Top 40 at Newmarket on Saturday, plus a number of other featured horses on Saturday and Sunday. I will be back to update the Diary shortly. Enjoy the weekend.
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