Ruby Walsh believes jockey Robbie Power has timed it right to retire at the end of the season.
Walsh, who called it a day at the Punchestown Festival three years ago, watched on as Power made the same move on Thursday afternoon. After riding Magic Daze to win the opening Pigsback.com Handicap Chase, Power said he will bow out on Friday’s card at the Irish track.
His last mount is set to be Teahupoo, one of five rivals for superstar mare Honeysuckle, in the Grade 1 Paddy Power Champion Hurdle. Citing his battle with injury as the reason behind the decision, Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National-winning rider Power told Racing TV: “I had my back operated on last summer and then fractured my hip when I came back in October.
“I’m 41 next month and not getting any younger. I had injections in my hip and they didn’t really work. The last couple of months have been hard work.”
Thanking his family and everyone who helped his fitness battle, Power revealed his “relief” at letting people know, stating he knew it was going to be his last season due to the ongoing injury discomfort.
“If Minella Indo had won the Gold Cup, I probably would have gone then,” he added. “But Punchestown has been very good to me, I have been very lucky and ridden all the big winners here. I have had a fantastic career, I rode my first winner here and I’m guaranteed to ride my last winner here, that’s for sure.”
Power took the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup aboard Sizing John, a horse trained by his longstanding employer Jessica Harrington. He also provided Gordon Elliott with his first Grand National triumph back in 2007 on Silver Birch.
Walsh quit the saddle following Kemboy’s victory in the 2019 Punchestown Gold Cup – the record-breaking jockey’s 213th Grade 1 overall.
In his pundit role on Racing TV, Walsh hailed his former weighing room colleague as a “brilliant jockey” and wished him the same happiness he has felt away from competing every day.
“It’s fairly straightforward,” said Walsh, about why Power chose to hang up his boots at the same fixture.
“It’s what’s coming after Punchestown. Tighter tracks, faster ground, lesser horses, heavier falls. It’s what’s coming next more so than what happened here.”