Paddy Power racing ambassador and columnist for Paddy Power News www.news.paddypower.com: Ruby Walsh eacts to news of Michael O’Leary’s decision to phase out his Gigginstown racing operation, revealing it didn’t come as a massive surprise to some.
Speaking to Paddy Power News (news.paddypower.com) the recently retired jockey says the impact of what some have called a seismic blow to the racing community, will be felt instantly by those at the coalface.
“It might take them four or five years to get out, but the ramifications will be felt as soon as this morning.”
And the Paddy Power Brand Ambassador makes comparisons between yesterday’s shock announcement and Gigginstown’s decision to remove their horses from Willie Mullins yard two years ago, adding: “Except this time, they’re not just moving, they are going for good”.
He adds: “I don’t think anyone will benefit from this situation. It’s a loss for Irish racing. There is no winner.”
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Paddy Power News posed a few questions to Ruby about the O’Leary’s decision.
What were your first thoughts when you heard the news?
I’m probably not as shocked or as surprised as everyone else. There were signs there along the way. Michael and Anita have four kids that are growing up and the only one that appears to have interest in racing is Michael.
He didn’t go to the Irish National this year. He wasn’t at the Dublin Racing Festival this year on the Saturday when Apple’s Jade won either because he was doing things with the kids.
They’ve been hugely successful and they’ve been a massive help to Irish racing and their loss will be huge to a lot of people in racing, not just the trainers, but to the breeders, pin-hookers at sales to point-to-point racing – the loss of their financial investment will be felt across the board.
Given their huge success, might the hunger for more have waned?
I don’t think it’s about that. They’ve won a lot but to have the amount of horses they have, you need to be in love and dedicated to racing 24/7. I don’t think it was a financial decision either. You don’t get to be as clever as Michael O’Leary by thinking that getting involved in National Hunt racing is a wise business decision. It’s not to make a profit, it’s a passion.
How long will it take before the racing community feel the direct brunt of Gigginstown’s decision?
The knock-on effect of their decision will be felt immediately and from the bottom up. They won’t be buying next week at the Land Rover Sale. They won’t be buying at the Derby Sale. They won’t have point-to-pointers next year, no bumper horses, then no novice hurdlers or chasers. It might take them four or five years to get out, but the ramifications will be felt as soon as this morning.
Will this give the smaller trainers a better chance of winning the bigger races?
I don’t think anyone will benefit from this situation. It’s a loss for Irish racing. There is no winner.
When Gigginstown split with Willie Mullins, he had to change his business and survive without them. And he did that, successfully. Gordon Elliott, Noel Meade, Henry de Bromhead, Joseph O’Brien, they’ll all have to do the same and they will. They will re-adjust their business and work without them. It’s a carbon copy of what happened to Willie but it’s on a national scale. Except this time, they’re not just moving, they’re going for good.
Used with kind permission by paddy power news
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