WALSH DOMINATES CHELTENHAM

Hey, in the middle of this nasty recession, why not take a cyber-trip to England for some jump racing?

Ruby Walsh rode his fifth winner of the Cheltenham Festival on Thursday when he took Big Buck’s to victory in the World Hurdle.

The 6-1 third favorite stalked the pack throughout the 3-mile race before surging to the front at the last hurdle, when the 6-year-old overcame a heavy landing to stay ahead of Punchestowns and win by about two lengths.

On Wednesday, Walsh become the first jockey in 10 years to win three races in a single day at Cheltenham. The 29-year-old Irishman is the most successful current rider at the festival, one ahead of Tony McCoy.

Big Buck’s (L) ridden by Ruby Walsh jumps the last hurdle alongside Barry Geraghty riding Punchestowns during The World Hurdle Race during the third day of the Cheltenham festival in Cheltenham on March 12, 2009. Big Buck’s won the Class 1 Grade 1 main race with Puncestown in second and Powerstation in third.
Ruby Walsh rides ‘Master Minded’ over the last to win theQueen Mother Champion Steeple Chase during the second day of the Cheltenham Festival in Cheltenham, on March 11, 2009.
Guess who? Ruby Walsh rides ‘Cooldine’ to win The RSA Steeple Chase on the second day of the Cheltenham festival in Cheltenham, on March 11, 2009. Wednesday’s highlight is the Queen Mother Champion Chase in which Britain’s top-rated chaser Master Minded will be a warm order to repeat last year’s win.
Ruby Walsh (L) rides ‘Mikael d’Haguenet’ to victory in The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Race on the second day of the Cheltenham festival in Cheltenham, on March 11, 2009. Wednesday’s highlight is the Queen Mother Champion Chase in which Britain’s top-rated chaser Master Minded will be a warm order to repeat last year’s win.
Barry Geraghty rides ‘Punjabi’ (L) over the last fence to beat Ruby Walsh on ‘Celestial Halo’ (R) to win The Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy during the first day of the Cheltenham Festival in Cheltenham, on March 10, 2009.
Jockey Tony McCoy rides into the winners enclosure on Wichita Lineman and shakes hands with its owner J.P. McManus (R) after winning The William Hill Trophy Handicap Steeple Chase during the first day of the Cheltenham Festival in Cheltenham, on March 10, 2009. Christian Williams rides Shamari over the last fence to win The Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase during the first day of the Cheltenham Festival in Cheltenham on March 10, 2009.
(Photos by Glyn Kirk and Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images)