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Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

What Katie did next: new chapter for Walsh kicks off this week at Tattersalls

Katie Walsh retires from race riding after winning on Antey for Willie Mullins
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If you thought Katie Walsh would be putting her feet up this week, basking in the glory of a glittering career in the saddle, think again. There is little time for such luxuries as the ink for the next chapter of her career is already hitting the page. 

Walsh, who retired after scoring on Antey in the 2m novice hurdle at Punchestown on Friday, is preparing for a trip to Tattersalls later this week with a Poet's Voice filly.

The following week she is off to Deauville with a Nathaniel filly and an Elusive City colt, while she has a bundle of youngsters for the breeze-ups at Goresbridge in late May. She has a living to make.

She said on Sunday: "There's no point saying I get as much of a kick out of selling a horse as I got out of riding a winner, as I definitely don't. There's no feeling like riding a winner. None.

"I was one of the very lucky ones to experience it and I loved it. But I had to let my head rule my heart and the time was right to stop. 

"I do like buying and selling horses too, though. It's something I've always enjoyed doing. It's not the same as riding a winner but I do certainly get a kick out of it. It's time for the next chapter."

Katie Walsh exits the stage

Walsh, 33, said she has been overwhelmed with well-wishes since  announcing her retirement after picking up the spare winning ride on Antey, whom Noel Fehily and Danny Mullins were due to ride before suffering injuries.

"I genuinely can't believe how kind people have been since Friday," said Walsh, who was followed into retirement a day later by sister-in-law Nina Carberry. "It's been a great couple of days and I've been very humbled by everything that's happened. I feel very lucky." 

One trainer who will miss Walsh more than most is Willie Mullins, and the 12-time champion paid glowing tribute.

He said: "Katie has been very lucky for us and very good to us. She's been a tremendous jockey, always willing to give us a hand at big festivals and ride work.

"I always treated her as a jockey rather than a lady jockey and she was always next choice when one of the guys at home in the yard couldn't ride.

"She rode a couple of Cheltenham Festival winners, Thousand Stars and Relegate, for us and rode winners in France too. She could ride a chaser, a hurdler or a bumper horse, and was more than capable in a Flat race.

"She's a fantastic person and a fantastic jockey. I'm delighted to have provided her with her last winner and we all wish her well for the future."

Nina Carberry is hugged by Katie Walsh after riding her last career winner when taking the Dooley Insurances Cross Country Chase with Josies Orders at Punchestown

Her biggest fan, though, was undoubtedly her father, trainer Ted, and who will ever forget their embrace live on RTE after she had won the 2015 Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Thunder And Roses? It was a tear-jerking moment.

He said: "From the time she was a kid Katie was mad into ponies, horses and all types of animals. You couldn't keep her out of the yard at home.

"From the time she was knee high she was always an outdoor person. When she was younger she was into athletics, and also played football with Eadestown.

"As a rider she was a good judge. She never sugar-coated her comments. If she thought a horse was no good she wouldn't be slow about telling you.

"I remember her riding one for me at Punchestown. He finished down the field and coming back in I said, 'Well, what do you think?' She told me I should have left him at home."

Her father added: "She's always been a hard worker but she likes to party too."

That party is ongoing but she's back to work very soon. These horses won't sell themselves.


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There is not point in me saying that I get as much of a kick out of selling a horse as I got out of riding a winner as I definitely don't

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