In celebration of Ruby Walsh’s birthday, we take a look back at one of the finest moments in his glistening career, when he was aboard Papillon in the 2000 Grand National at Aintree.
Trained by Ruby’s father Ted, the then nine-year-old had been inconsistent at best that season and was given a modest weight of 10st 12lbs for the showcase contest.
Even though his stamina was questioned at this distance, Papillon travelled well throughout the contest thanks to the moderate pace.
Approaching five out, the gelding pushed into second and slowly catching Enda Bolger’s Lucky Town.
By three out, Papillon had taken the lead but had several runners in pursuit behind with Mely Moss looking the most threatening.
Charles Egerton’s runner pushed alongside Walsh’s mount after the final fence as they produced an epic battle through the Elbow.
Both were trading blows all the way down the straight, but it was Papillon that won the battle of wits as he got past his rival to win by a length and a quarter.
Ted Walsh’s servant would run in the National the following season, finishing a creditable fourth before being retired in 2003.