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Ruby Walsh all geared up for Australian Grand National

By Frank Brownlow

Ruby Walsh has jumped into a helicopter on many occasions to get him from one racecourse to the next, but he'll need something with a bit more power for his next adventure.

Top jockey Walsh will ride at Sligo tonight - with his next mount at the Australian Grand National meeting on Sunday.

The Kildare native will ride Bashboy in the Australian Grand National at Ballarat as regular jockey Steve Pateman yesterday lost his appeal against a careless riding ban.

Walsh has two rides at the Ballarat meeting - he will first ride Archfire in the JJ Houlahan Memorial Hurdle prior to his National outing.

"This is a new adventure for me. It's good prize-money, prestigious racing and it was nice to be asked," Walsh said.

"Someone from Australia contacted (trainer) Willie Mullins on Monday morning, to ask whether I would have any interest in going.

"Things have moved from there. A lot depended on Steve's appeal, which unfortunately was unsuccessful. It was a very unexpected phone call, but a nice one all the same.

"I was talking to Stephen (Gray) at Roscommon on Monday and he said it was a fine, level track, pretty straightforward, so we'll take it as we find it.

"I fly Friday morning and then back home on Tuesday morning. I am sure there will be plenty of time to watch the videos of the horse and the track between Dublin and Melbourne."

Regarding Bashboy, he said: "It might be a case of whatever handles the testing ground the best. I am told my fella will, and hopefully they're right."

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