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Ruby Walsh: I was lucky enough to ride the best, some of the best in history

Ruby Walsh: 'I do enjoy media work and I am looking forward to getting into it more'
Ruby Walsh: 'I do enjoy media work and I am looking forward to getting into it more'Credit: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

Ruby Walsh after bowing out of an incredible career on a glorious high . . .

I knew going out that if this fella [Kemboy] wins, I wouldn't be going out again. If Rathvinden had won the National I probably would have retired at Aintree, but he didn't.

Nothing lasts forever and I wanted to do something else. It has always been about big ones and I said that when I won a big one I would walk away, and it doesn't get any bigger than this.

When the decision is made in your head for quite a while, it's easy enough to say it. I made the decision a good while ago. I suppose when I broke my leg at Cheltenham last year I was thinking, 'F**k, I can't do that again'.

I think that without the help of good surgeons – Enda King was a genius – I wouldn't have lasted as long as I have. Time moves on. I have done this for 24 years and I want to do something else for the next 24.

I'll have to write my own articles now! I have Racing TV and Paddy Power, I have great connections with those. Instead of those being on the sidelines fitting in around racing, they are going to be my life now.

Kauto Star: any jockey is only as good as the horse they're riding and I was lucky enough to ride the best
Kauto Star: any jockey is only as good as the horse they're riding and I was lucky enough to ride the bestCredit: Julian Finney

Any jockey is only as good as the horse they're riding and I was lucky enough to ride the best, a lot of the best horses there have ever been.

From 20 years ago here with Imperial Call through to Kemboy today, Kauto Star, Denman, Master Minded, Quevega, Hurricane Fly, Annie Power, Faugheen, Vautour. If you can think of a good horse, there is a very good chance I have ridden him or her.

With the exception of Sprinter Sacre and Altior, I cannot think of too many good horses I didn't ride.

Horses made me. They made me good. I was lucky I got a great tuition from my father [Ted]. I had a great agent in Jennifer [Walsh, sister], who minded me, and I worked for the two best trainers in Paul Nicholls and Willie Mullins. Their records speak for themselves.

Papillon: winner of the Grand National in 2000
Papillon: winner of the Grand National in 2000Credit: Edward Whitaker

Papillon is the one moment which stands out. Papillon in 2000 [Grand National], that was never going to be better for me, ever. That was a fairytale.

There have been five or six bad days in my lifetime, but those have come in a graveyard when we have been burying someone. John Thomas, Kieran Kelly, Sean Cleary, Dary Cullen, Jack Tyner, Tom Halliday. Those were the only bad days I have had in racing.

Punchestown is home to me. I was determined that I would always beat injury and injury wouldn't beat me. That's what happened.

Was there ever going to be a good time to stop working for Paul Nicholls? Was there ever going to be a good time to stop working for Willie Mullins? No.

But there has to be a day. Could I have kept going until tomorrow? Maybe. But, I'm not a poker player, and I would have kicked myself if I didn't go out on a big one like that today.

I wouldn't consider training. Not in this environment. How do you compete with Willie, Gordon [Elliott], Joseph [O'Brien]? How could you start from scratch and compete against them? I might have been a jump jockey, and jump jockeys are brave, but I'm not stupid.

I do enjoy media work and I am looking forward to getting into it more. I'll have to learn a new trade and start at the bottom. I don't have a degree in journalism and I'm a long way behind the eight-ball but I always enjoyed learning. I'll enjoy it.

I hadn't said anything to Willie. I always said I would just get off and say. I hopped off Kemboy and told him and Jackie [Mullins].

There was a huge difference between the retirements of Richard [Dunwoody] and AP [McCoy]. Richard was forced to retire, whereas AP went out on his own terms.

I've been looking forward to this day, not dreading it. And now it's here, and I'm happy about it.

When I wake up in the morning I'll feel the same way I felt this morning - a bit stiff and a bit sore and I'll probably have a sore head, but I'd imagine I'll still go to Willie's and do the decs for Saturday, only I won't be worried about who'll ride what.


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