On Wednesday, Legendary Irish jockey Ruby Walsh announced his retirement from the sport of horse racing, with immediate effect.
Walsh made the decision after riding Kemboy to a dramatic finish in the Punchestown Gold Cup and shocked the world with his announcement in the aftermath.
At the age of 39, Walsh leaves the sport after a glittering career that has spanned nearly two decades and has seen him take home some of the sport’s most prestigious honours.
Speaking to Paddy Power News, Walsh, who is a Paddy Power Brand Ambassador and columnist with Paddy Power News, spoke of his enjoyment around yesterday and outlined that only those closest to him knew he was going to make the decision
“I enjoyed yesterday. I enjoyed the race and I enjoyed revealing the decision I made. Obviously, I had a rough plan in my mind, but I was hoping for the fairytale ending. Not everyone gets that. But I did, thank god,” he said.
“Only my mum, dad and Jennifer (sister and agent) knew. And my wife Gillian of course. She knew a long time ago. But that was it, I told nobody else. I got down off a horse and told my boss as I always said I would,” he explained.
Walsh also reflected on what it was like riding over the past few months, knowing that the end was coming.
“Winning all of those big races over the past few months, deep down I was treasuring those moments. I knew they wouldn’t be happening again. But that was for me to enjoy.
“When AP retired it was a sad day. I wanted yesterday to feel like a celebration. I was retiring, I wasn’t dying! I knew there was lots of speculation, but that didn’t bother me much. I knew what I was going to do. I was making my own decisions. I know it came as a bit of a surprise to a lot of people. But I didn’t want to do the lap of honour. I just wanted to retire and get out.”
Ruby also shared how he celebrated his new-found freedom from the obligations of racing last night.
“We joined some friends in the La Touche Restaurant at the track and headed from there to the snug of a local pub. The usual set of friends and family appeared and we sipped our way merrily through the night.”
“And it didn’t end there: “When we got home I sat down on the couch with Gillian and watched the replay. Given that I’m only a part-time drinker, we had to watch it all again this morning!” he joked.