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Saturday 16 December 2017

Ruby Walsh: I'm having sleepless nights over Champion Hurdle

Ruby Walsh
Ruby Walsh

Ruby Walsh has admitted he is having "sleepless nights" over the Champion Hurdle as he has to pick between dual winner of the race Hurricane Fly and stable companion Faugheen who is the current race favourite.

With less than two-weeks to go until the biggest show in jump racing, Walsh has an enviable book of rides for Willie Mullins throughout the four days and admits he is much happier making the decision than waiting to pick up a ride in the race but doesn't want to get it wrong like he did in 2008 when picking Kauto Star over Gold Cup winner Denman.

"I've still a massive decision to make about whether I'll ride ante-post favourite Faugheen or former dual champion Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle," Walsh said. "If I pick the wrong one it will be a sickener - and that's my biggest fear at the moment. I'd sooner be second to The New One (or whoever) than get it wrong between Hurricane Fly and Faugheen."

Walsh is long odds on with bookmakers Paddy Power to pick the up and coming Faugheen over the 11-year-old Hurricane Fly but a decsion is set to be left as late as possible.

disappointing

"If I pick the right one and it gets beaten it'll be disappointing enough. If you pick the wrong one and finish third and the other finishes second that doesn't matter - you weren't going to win anyway.

"But it's that moment when you pass the post and know you could have ridden the winner that is agony. That disappointment in yourself as a professional for getting it wrong."

Reflecting on that famous Gold Cup when Sam Thomas won on Denman, the Kildare native added: "It wasn't that I'd lost out on the glory or the prestige of the Gold Cup to Sam Thomas or anything - it was that I'd picked the wrong one (Kauto Star) when I had the choice. This year's Champion Hurdle is as close as I've come to a decision like that - and I just hope I get it right.

"In time, of course, the disappointment passes because you're part of a team and the stable has won. But for that half hour or so after the result and maybe a little longer. It's agony. That's why I'm leaving my Champion Hurdle decision until as late as possible."

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