Ruby Walsh weighs up Australia Grand National bid

Jockey Ruby Walsh. Picture: Getty Images
Jockey Ruby Walsh. Picture: Getty Images
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Ruby Walsh could be in line to ride Bashboy when the horse bids for an historic third victory in the Australian Grand National on Sunday.

Trainer Ciaron Maher is preparing for a change of jockey for the prolific stayer, with regular rider Steve Pateman facing an appeal hearing against a careless riding charge today after he received a six-race ban at Warrnambool on Saturday.

Connections have been in touch with Walsh, who has never ridden in Australia before, about taking over in the saddle.

“We have floated the idea of getting Ruby Walsh over. He is the best in the world. There is a definite chance, so I guess we’ll see tomorrow,” said Maher. He [Walsh] is certainly considering it and we’ll have to see what happens to Steve.”

Meanwhile, Michael Dickinson is making a return to the training ranks in America.

Famed for sending out the first five home in the 1983 Cheltenham Gold Cup, he showed his versatility by making a successful switch to training Flat horses in America. He handled the talented but fragile Da Hoss, who won two Breeders’ Cup Miles, two years apart with only one other run between victories.

Since his retirement in 2007, the 65-year-old Yorkshireman has been overseeing the development of the Tapeta all-weather surface.

“I had no intention of going back to training,” said Dickinson. But during my time [away], I started all the time looking for new [training] ideas. The last three years I’ve been trying those new ideas, but most of them failed. That’s a fact of life, but we’ve found a few that do [work].

“When I trained before, once we bought the farm, we won eight Grade One races. But I was never really happy with the results. In fact, I wasn’t remotely happy.

“I felt we could have done better. So I’m doing this to prove to myself that I can do better. That’s it. But I’m going to enjoy it, and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve got the enthusiasm and energy of a 22-year-old, and I’m fit and healthy.

“I have a few clients who have told me that if I ever start training again, they’d send me a horse or two. We won’t have horses for at least another month, and I wouldn’t imagine we’ll have that many this fall. This type of training is quite labour-intensive, quite intense, so I don’t want too many.”