Legendary jockey Ruby Walsh called time on his career after partnering Kemboy to victory in this evening’s Coral Punchestown Gold Cup on day two of the Festival.
After Kemboy produced a brilliant display to account for the Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo, Walsh waved goodbye to the Punchestown crowd and within a few minutes it was confirmed that the legendary rider was retiring with immediate effect.
“I was going to go out when I won a big one. After Min was beaten yesterday I knew I had Kemboy, Bapaume, Melon and Benie Des Dieux to come. I’m not a poker player and when Kemboy won I wasn’t going to roll the dice again,” said Walsh.
“It has always been about big races and I said when I won a big one I could walk away. Nothing goes on forever.
"I’ve been riding for 24 years and I want to do something else now. Any jockey is only as good as the horses they ride and I’ve been lucky to ride some of the greatest horses of my lifetime,” he said as he highlighted his Aintree Grand National victory on his father’s Papillon in 2000 as a career highlight.
“In my own mind I probably came to the decision last summer. I thought that I might get out on Rathvinden in the Grand National but Tiger Roll got in the way and I’d have been kicking myself if I had passed on the opportunity to go out on Kemboy.
“I’ve been looking forward to this day not dreading it – when your mind is made up it’s made up. In terms of my career I didn’t dream or foresee what has happened to me.
"Do I feel lucky, yes I do and I’m lucky I am walking away in one piece. When I told my dad last week he was just delighted that I was doing what I wanted to do,” concluded Walsh.
A crowd of 18,887 was in attendance on the day Ruby Walsh called time on his career.