Ted Walsh saddened as Papillon dies at age 26
Celebrated winner of Grand National in 2000 gave trainer ‘greatest day of my racing life’
Ruby Walsh en route to victory on Papillon in the Aintree Grand National of 2000. It was the first ride in the famous race for the jockey. Photograph: Allsport/Inpho
Papillon, winner of the Grand National in 2000 for the father and son team of trainer Ted and jockey Ruby Walsh, has died at the age of 26.
The son of Lafontaine ran his last race in 2003 and enjoyed his retirement at Walsh’s stables in Naas.
Papillon, who was heavily backed on the day at Aintree, was a first ride in the world’s greatest steeplechase for the jockey, who was 20 at the time.
He was also fourth in the race 12 months later.
“It’s sad news but he gave me the greatest day of my racing life when he won the Grand National with Ruby on in 2000. That’s 17 years ago now but it doesn’t seem that long ago,” said Walsh.
“It was something I never thought would happen, but it did happen and I’m very grateful for that. He died around lunchtime. He was all right when the lads were going home.
“I went out to do something and there were a couple of horses in the field and he was lying down. I thought he was okay but he was unfortunately dead. It was a lovely sunny day and I thought he was just stretched out.”