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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 27 June, 2019
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Ruby Walsh announces retirement from racing after Punchestown Gold Cup win

The 12-time Irish champion jockey this evening called time on a remarkable career.

Ruby Walsh with his wife Gillian and daughters Isabelle, Elsa and Gemma after announcing his retirement.
Ruby Walsh with his wife Gillian and daughters Isabelle, Elsa and Gemma after announcing his retirement.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

RUBY WALSH HAS announced his retirement from racing with immediate effect. 

The announcement was made after Walsh rode the Willie Mullins-trained Kemboy to victory at the Punchestown Gold cup this evening. 

Surrounded by his family, Walsh confirmed that this was the end amid emotional post-race scenes. 

“You’ll never see me on a horse again, I’m finished” said Walsh in his post-race interview. 

Walsh reflected on his career with Robert Hall and his father Ted on  RTÉ. 

“I’ve been so lucky to ride so many incredible horses”, reflected Ruby. 

“I was always taught it as a kid: it’s always about the big day. He [gesturing to his father Ted] always taught it to me. That’s what it is about, the big day.

“Being honest, if Rathvinden had won the Grand National I probably would have bowed out on him as there’s no bigger stage than that.”

Ruby Walsh after winning with Kemboy and announcing his retirement The retiring Ruby Walsh. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

He then said he is unlikely to take up training, and will focus on media work. 

“There comes a time when you want to do something else. I’ve been a jump jockey for 24 years, I’m nearly 40 and I want to do something else for the next 24 years.

“I have great contacts and sponsors in racing, with RacingTV, the Irish Examiner and Paddy Power so instead of them being bit-parts of my life, they are going to be my life now.

Ted paid tribute to his son’s career, hailing his ability to perform on the biggest stage. 

“He was always well able to ride”, he said with his son by his side. 

“What I didn’t see and what nobody could see was the mind he had. To be able to put up with the adversity of certain things that happened, he was great. He was able to take the pressure of the big occasion from a young age, which is a great thing.

He was never cocky but he was always confident in his own ability. Like Tiger Woods mastering Augusta, he got to master Cheltenham very early on in life. He rode 59 individual winners at Cheltenham, he was always good on the big occasions from a young age.

“He rode in a great era, he rode for two of the greatest trainers we have seen in Paul Nicholls and Willie Mullins.

“I’ll miss it, but I didn’t think I’d get 24 years of it.”

Over those 24 years, Ruby had more than 2,000 winners and was the Irish champion jockey on 12 separate occasions. 

He was the lead jockey at the Cheltenham festival 12 times, too, where he twice won the Gold Cup. 

He retires having won the Aintree Grand National twice also. 

 

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Gavin Cooney

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