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"I've learned a lot from him" - Paul Townend on Ruby Walsh

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

04:50 8 Dec 2018


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Decorated jockey Paul Townend was the guest for Friday Night Racing on Off the Ball this week. 

He joined John Duggan and Johnny Ward to reflect on his career so far, which has included being crowned Champion National Hunt jockey for the 2010/2011 season. 

Currently based at Willie Mullins' yard, Townend was asked if he found it difficult competing with Ruby Walsh for rides against one of the best jockey's currently competing: "Yeah, if you didn't find it frustrating, you stay going in this game because you wouldn't have the will to win but the position I'm in is an unbelievable position because it's as good as first jockey in most yards in the country," he told John.

"So, it's the way it is - Ruby is Ruby at the end of the day. What he's achieved speaks for itself but he doesn't always pick the right one. Next Sunday, there's a double meeting on and I go to Cork with a lot of very good rides for Willie, so the position I'm in is huge.

"When Ruby has a bit of misfortune, I get to step into the hotseat, as they say, so it's an unreal position to be in. It is hard to win on a couple and then get the boot off him then," he added.

Despite playing second fiddle to Walsh, Townend was quick to point out what he has learned from his stablemate from early on in his career: "I've learned a lot from him - from how to look at a race beforehand to how to analyse a race and just from when you're riding out with him for so long.

"When he used to drive into the yard and you'd be mucking out stables, you'd be looking around the corner to see if he was coming. Riding out with him - you learn so much from him without even thinking you are, watching him ride. His strength and ability to hold horses is second to none. 

"Tactically, he's as good as anyone I've ever ridden against any way. He's natural over the fence, he doesn't move. And what he's achieved speaks for itself - you don't ride so many winners at the top level like he has unless you're exceptionally good." 

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