‘All good things come to an end’ - Moloney quits saddle after 20 years
Paul Moloney has decided to hang up his boots after a 20-year riding career and 843 winners and is returning to his native Ireland, where he plans to build a breeding operation on his Tipperary farm.
After three months out with a damaged shoulder that caused nerve damage Moloney, 38, revealed his decision to the Racing Post on Thursday.
“I'll miss the buzz of riding, chasers especially,” said Moloney. “I'll miss the thrill of winning, but all good things must come to an end and I'm happy I'm making the right decision.
“I've been so lucky and I'm very grateful to all the people who have helped me along the way.”
Grade 1 success eluded Moloney, but he compiled a long list of Graded winners in his career and a remarkable record in the Grand National without winning it.
In the run-up to this year’s National Moloney had faced up to missing the race for the first time in 11 years, although he had been upbeat about a return to race-riding despite the painful nerve damage from shoulder injuries sustained in a fall from Going Concern at Sedgefield on January 29. However, that proved his final ride.
Moloney added: “I have loved the job, but I think this is the right time to stop. I've had a lot of time off recovering from my shoulder injury, which was very frustrating. But it has also given me the opportunity to think about things and I feel that maybe the time is right to move on to the next stage of my life.
“My plan now is to take a few months off. We have a farm in Tipperary and I will be based there with my wife Louise and our three children. Like so many jockeys’ wives, Louise has been a huge support – she was happy to come to England to allow me to pursue my hobby.
“Having had some great advice from people like Liam O’Donovan, I now have broodmares of my own and I'll be looking to expand while also taking in some boarding mares. I'll be busy, and a priority this year will be to shadow a few people so that I can learn more about the stud side of the game.
"I've been riding since I was 16 so am looking forward to learning something new.”
Moloney’s final fall came just over a year after he had suffered another serious injury in a fall at Ludlow on December 2, 2015 on Kudu Country.
Despite a double fracture of his left leg and a broken ankle, Moloney made the Grand National four months later, again finishing the race on Buywise.
The last injury brought the curtain down on a remarkable record of having completed in the previous eight Aintree Grand Nationals, finishing in the first four seven times and coming closest to success on Cappa Bleu, who was second to Auroras Encore in 2013.
Moloney made the frame on those seven occasions all in the colours of William and Angela Rucker, who owned his other partners State Of Play and Alvarado.
He reflected: “The key was riding for people who put you on the right horse and were also willing to allow you free rein. William and Angela Rucker were the best owners anyone could wish to ride for – they gave me so much confidence.”
Moloney learned his trade under Jim Bolger in his school holidays, when Sir Anthony McCoy and Ted Durcan were also starting out.
He rode his first winner when moving to Michael Hourigan's yard, Moloney recalling: “I was fortunate enough to meet Shane Broderick at Michael Hourigan’s and he was the one who suggested I should go to Christy Roche’s. I owe him an awful lot.
"And I cannot thank Christy enough. He taught me so much about race-riding – even in the later years of my career he was still helping me and pointing things out to me."
Moloney moved to Britain four years later and remembers: “Jamie Spencer and Barney Curley were incredibly supportive when I came to England.
"So many owners and trainers have given me great support. I came to England as a visitor and people have been wonderful to me and my family. I'm very grateful that British racing offered me so many fantastic opportunities. More than anyone, Evan Williams has been brilliant. I also owe him a huge debt of gratitude."
They clicked immediately, with State Of Play giving Moloney one of his biggest successes in the 2006 Hennessy.
Moloney had many Grade 2 wins, with two Charlie Hall successes on State Of Play in 2008 and Deep Purple the following year. He won the Welsh Grand National on the Richard Lee-trained Mountainous in 2013, while the best horse he rode was Moscow Flyer, who he partnered to win the 2000 Morgiana Hurdle.
Moloney enjoyed his last major success 18 months ago at Chepstow, with Roadie Joe winning the Persian War Hurdle a day after Court Minstrel had won the Silver Trophy.
Grand National podium prowess
2009 State Of Play 4th
2010 State Of Play 3rd
2011 State Of Play 4th
2012 Cappa Bleu 4th
2013 Cappa Bleu 2nd
2014 Alvarado 4th
2015 Alvarado 4th
Full name Paul Moloney
Born October 17, 1978
First winner under rules Kaselectric, Limerick, May 5, 1997
First winner in Britain Redde, Uttoxeter, May 26, 2003
Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup winner State Of Play (2006)
Welsh Grand National winner Mountainous (2013)
Charlie Hall Chase winners State Of Play (2008), Deep Purple (2009)
Swinton Hurdle winners Barizan (2013), Ballyglasheen (2014)
Morgiana Hurdle winner Moscow Flyer (2000)
In the frame in 7 consecutive Grand Nationals State Of Play (4th 2009, 3rd 2010, 4th 2011), Cappa Bleu (4th 2012, 2nd 2013), Alvarado (4th 2014 & 2015)
Top-rated mount Deep Purple (RPR 170 in 2009 Peterborough Chase)
Highest position in jockeys' table 4th (2010-11)
Most wins in a season 79 (2010-11)
Total wins over jumps 843 (GB 699, Ireland 144)
Compiled by John Randall