Ruby Walsh made a successful return to action after Easy Game lived up to his name in the galmont.com & galwaybayhotel.com Novice Hurdle, the opening event of the 2018 Galway Festival.
Out of action since breaking his leg for a second time in quick succession at the Cheltenham Festival in March, Walsh kept things simple from the front.
Sent off the 5-4 favourite, Willie Mullins’ four-year-old looked a nice prospect and a big leap at the last showed he still had plenty up his sleeve to beat Count Simon by four and a quarter lengths.
Walsh said, “It’s a relief. I’ve only had a week’s work in the last nine months and it’s great to be back. I hope I last a bit longer than a week this time!
“I’ve been ready for a fortnight or three weeks and this was always the target.
“The horse was in great order and he improved from Killarney as Paul (Townend) thought he would. He did it really well.
“Having not ridden in a race for a while, I wasn’t sure how fast I was going, never mind how strong the race was! The pressure is off now.”
Mullins added: “It’s great to have Ruby back.
“He jumped from hurdle to hurdle and climbed the hill. You are always wondering when you come to Galway whether you have a horse that will climb and he climbed. It’s a nice start to the week.”