LEGENDARY Irish jockey Ruby Walsh has announced his retirement from horse racing at the age of 39.
Walsh, who turns 40 this month, announced his decision immediately after riding Kemboy to Grade One success in the Punchestown Gold Cup on Wednesday.
In a career spanning more than two decades, Walsh has been associated with some of the most successful horses of his generation, including legendary names such as Kauto Star, Hurricane Fly, Quevega and Faugheen.
The County Kildare native won the Grand National twice, in 2000 and 2005, and the Irish equivalent three times, including last month, on Burrows Saint.
However, it is at Cheltenham where Walsh has enjoyed his biggest success, riding more Festival winners than any other jockey in history, including two Gold Cups, and finishing as the meeting’s top jockey on 11 occasions.
His retirement was not entirely unexpected, with a series of injuries in recent seasons limiting his number of rides, and after crossing the line on Kemboy, Walsh gave a symbolic wave to the Punchestown crowd before formally announcing his departure in the parade ring.
His decision comes into effect immediately, meaning the rides he had scheduled for the remaining days of the Punchestown Festival, which marks the end of the Irish jumps season and runs until Saturday, will be forfeited.