True pro Ruby fulfils obligations at Limerick

GRAND NATIONAL hero, Ruby Walsh, left Limerick last night by helicopter on his way to Carlow for what promised to be a mighty celebration.

On Saturday, he piloted Hedgehunter to a brilliant 14 lengths success at Aintree and, true professional that he is, fulfilled his obligations at Limerick and rode three horses.

One of them, Scarthy Lad, took the featured Hugh McMahon Memorial Novice Chase and the 25-year-old returned to a fine reception from a very appreciative audience, many of whom had obviously backed the Willie Mullins trained gelding.

Walsh stayed in Liverpool overnight and let his hair down-a little. “We went to the Pan-American and watched a re-run of the race”, said Walsh.

“Then we headed to the Vault restaurant and had a meal. We ended up in the Adelphi Hotel and had a few drinks. I enjoyed a couple of glasses of champagne, I’d drink nothing.”

By 2am he was tucked up in bed and ready for the delights of Limerick. At 1.30 yesterday afternoon Walsh was back on Irish soil, landing at Cork airport, accompanied by his girlfriend, Gillian Doran, Paul Carberry and his girlfriend, and Conor O’Dwyer.

“I am delighted with the reception I got here, it was brilliant and unexpected”, said a clearly delighted Walsh. Reflecting on Hedgehunter’s performance, he said: “He won in a canter. He was lucky at the second fence after the canal turn. He should really have fallen, having hit it very hard and I lost my reins.”

Last night the party was in the Lord Bagenall pub and restaurant in Leighlinbridge in Carlow and Hedgehunter was due to be paraded through the streets of the village.

Later this week it will be back to business for Walsh. He rides at Cheltenham on Wednesday and Thursday and then it will be Ayr on Friday and Saturday.

Can he win the Scottish National on Saturday? He expects to partner Cornish Rebel for Paul Nicholls.

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