Katie Walsh calls it a day as she goes out on a winner
Katie Walsh proved something of a showstopper on an already dramatic evening when announcing her retirement moments after coming out on top of a titanic battle with Barry Geraghty in the penultimate race on the card, the 2m novice hurdle
Walsh had come in for a spare ride on Antey for Willie Mullins and in a thrilling finish the duo nailed Geraghty and Shady Operator by a nose.
The 33-year-old said: "I've been thinking about it for a while and it's on to the next chapter in life.
"I wanted to go out on a winner and I said to myself that I'd retire whenever I rode my next winner, whether it be here at Punchestown or wherever.
"It was just the way it worked out to get a spare, and especially to ride it for Willie Mullins made it extra special. It's just the way racing goes and it all worked out all right – I didn't think I was going to win down the back straight, that I can tell you."
Just last month Walsh won the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival on Relegate. That was her third win at the meeting following a double in 2010 on Poker De Sivola (National Hunt Chase) and Thousand Stars (County Hurdle).
She also rode several times in the Grand National, often attracting significant support from punters. In 2012 she finished third on Seabass, which remains the best-ever result for a female rider in the National, and in 2015 she recorded the biggest success of her career when landing the Irish Grand National on Thunder And Roses.
She added: "I've had a marvellous career and I've unbelievable memories. I wanted to go out on my own terms and everyone is here, my husband Ross and my family. I couldn't have picked a better place."
Katie’s career in numbers
158 Irish jumps winners
21 Irish Flat winners
6 British jumps winners
2 British Flat winners
2 Grade 1 victories
3 Cheltenham Festival wins
1 Irish Grand National win
3rd Grand National finishing position on Seabass in 2012 - highest ever placing from female rider
KATIE WALSH CV
Born December 18, 1984
Family Parents: Ted and Helen Walsh. Siblings: Jennifer, Ruby, Ted jr (husband of Nina Carberry). Husband: trainer Ross O'Sullivan
First winner Hannon (trainer Ted Walsh) on Flat, Gowran Park, October 10, 2003
First NH winner Barrow Walk, bumper, Tramore, October 14, 2004
First winner over jumps Never Compromise, hunter chase, Thurles, January 27, 2005
First big-race winner Glencove Marina (2006 Goffs Land Rover Bumper, Punchestown)
Irish Grand National winner Thunder And Roses (2015)
Cheltenham Festival winners Poker De Sivola (2010 National Hunt Chase), Thousand Stars (2010 County Hurdle), Relegate (2018 Champion Bumper)
Grade 1 winners Blow By Blow (2016 Champion INH Flat Race, Punchestown), Relegate (2018 Champion Bumper, Cheltenham)
Grade 2 winners Thousand Stars (2014 Prix La Barka), Relegate (2018 Mares INH Flat Race, Leopardstown)
Other big-race winners Dorset Square (2010 Thetote.com Handicap Hurdle), Seabass (2012 Leopardstown Chase), Your Busy (2014 Kerry National), Baie Des Iles (2017 Grand National Trial)
Placed mount in Grand National Seabass (3rd in 2012)
Total rides in Grand National 6 (completed course 5)
Most wins in an Irish season 19 (2005-06)
Total wins in Ireland 179 (158 NH, 21 Flat)
Total wins in Britain 8 (6 NH, 2 Flat)
Last winner/last ride Antey, Punchestown, April 27, 2018
Compiled by John Randall
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