Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Tony McCoy's racing dominance could be ended by Ruby Walsh

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

Ruby Walsh
Ruby Walsh

Racing is set to be hit by a seismic shake-up – and Ulster legend Tony McCoy's incredible run of title success could come under threat.

The sport has been dominated by two trainers for almost a decade.

Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls are the Barcelona and Real Madrid of trainers, the former the current champion while the latter won seven successive crowns previous to that.

But Nicholls – trainer of the great Kauto Star – and Henderson must have experienced a shiver down the spine when they heard the latest plan being hatched by Willie Mullins, the dominant and all-powerful handler in Irish jump racing.

Mullins intends to step up his assault on British racing in a big way, even opening a yard in England.

Until now, Mullins' raids have chiefly been confined to Cheltenham and Aintree but all that is about to change.

And that could open doors for Mullins' star jockey Ruby Walsh, who earlier this year ended his association with Nicholls, an arrangement that saw him ride for both trainers.

Mullins confirmed that Walsh is an integral part of his plans to challenge the superpowers of British racing.

"Now that I have Ruby around all the time, his knowledge of British courses and horses will be a huge help," said Mullins.

How ironic if Walsh, great friend of McCoy, were to deny the 39-year-old – currently within touching distance of an incredible 19th successive title – a much sought-after 20th crown to round off a glittering career.

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