Walsh: Fly retirement a ‘really hard call to make’

Hurricane Fly and Ruby Walsh

Hurricane Fly: the best hurdler since Istabraq, says Ruby Walsh

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)  

RUBY WALSH said he would have considered keeping Hurricane Fly in training for another season as he paid glowing tribute to the retired hurdling hero.

Hurricane Fly was back in training and looking “a million dollars” when the decision to retire was taken by connections and Walsh revealed he could have been tempted to seek further glory on the 11-year-old.

“It was a decision we knew was coming – but it’s still strange to be talking about Hurricane Fly’s retirement,” Walsh said.

“I stayed out of the process and left it to Willie Mullins and the owners to make the call. If it was up to me it would have been a really hard call to make still.

“The Fly was back in training and still looks a million dollars. But the bold and brave choice had to be made on whether to retire him or go on for another season. But I’m sure when the news sinks in fully, it was the right decision.”

Best since Istabraq

Walsh, who rode Hurricane Fly to 16 of his 22 Grade 1 wins, also described him as the finest hurdler since the legendary Istabraq.

Writing on his Paddy Power blog, the rider said: “Quite simply, Hurricane Fly is the best hurdler I have ever sat on. The only hurdler you can compare him to in my lifetime is Istabraq.

“I’ve been so lucky with horses like Hurricane Fly, Kauto Star and Big Bucks because without them I wouldn’t have had the career I’ve had. Any jockey will tell you that you’re only as good as the horses you ride.”

Walsh added: “It’s fitting that Hurricane Fly retires from racing where he always was on the track – at the top.”

 

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