Irish jump jockey great Ruby Walsh has announced his retirement from the saddle after winning the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup on Kemboy.
The 39-year-old decided to end his brilliant career in the saddle following a two-length victory aboard Willie Mullins’ charge in the Grade One event.
Walsh was seen to wave goodbye to the Punchestown crowd after Kemboy saw off the Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Al Boum Photo in fine style.
He retires having ridden over 2,500 winners and with more Cheltenham Festival successes to his name than any other rider in history.
Walsh also won the Grand National Steeplechase at Ballarat in 2015 on board Bashboy.
Walsh said: “I think I knew going out that if he won, I wouldn’t be riding again. I probably thought the same with Rathvinden at Aintree.
“Nothing goes on forever and it has always been about big races – it doesn’t get any bigger here than that.
“When a decision is made in your head, it’s easy enough to say it and I made it a good while ago. When I broke my leg at Cheltenham last year, I felt I couldn’t do that again.
“Time moves on, I’ve done it for 24 years and to be honest I want to do something else over the next 24 – I’m just not sure what.”
At one point he had the best of both worlds riding as main jockey to Paul Nicholls in Britain and Willie Mullins in Ireland, before deciding to spend more time at home.
He really burst on to the scene when winning the 2000 Grand National on Papillon, trained by his father, Ted. He would also win the race on Mullins’ Hedgehunter in 2005.
Perhaps the two horses who Walsh will be most remembered for, though, were the two-time Champion Hurdle hero Hurricane Fly and the dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Kauto Star.
Paul Nicholls trained Kauto Star and Walsh was aboard for each of his five King George VI Chase wins, as well as his Festival triumphs among numerous other wins.