The retirements of Katie Walsh and Nina Carberry a day apart have left a void in Irish racing, with few female jockeys lining up to replace them.
Walsh, 33, announced she was quitting on Friday after riding a winner at Punchestown.
Her sister-in-law Carberry, 33, followed suit with a career-ending win at the same meeting 24 hours later. But they told fans that they won’t be resting on their laurels, watching soaps.
Walsh, who has also established a fine reputation in bloodstock sales, told Today with Sean O’Rourke on RTE Radion One that she felt the time was right to quit being a jockey.
‘I’d been thinking about it for a couple of weeks to be honest with you, and I’m 33-years of age now, and I just feel it is the right time to go, and I wanted to go out on a winner, and things are getting very busy here at home, and I certainly will miss the bigger days and the bigger festivals but it’s a huge commitment and I’ve got a few other things going on at the minute.
‘I just felt that I maybe wasn’t able to give it the 100pc that I was able to before, and I wanted to go out on a winner, and just the way it happened, it was fairy tale stuff. We walked the track on Tuesday, and Nina said to me that she was out on Saturday, and I said I’m out as well. And the two of us cried and cried but it was the right thing to do.’
Revealing how she wanted to go out on a winner, she said Nina planned to quit on Saturday, and for the two women to both ride home on their last ride as winners was ‘unbelievable’.
Carberry, who gave birth to daughter Rosie last year, will continue in the sport by riding out for Aidan O’Brien and trading horses.
Sharing her own reason for leaving, Nina said that she also said she had no regrets at stopping at her 99th race — despite racing fans and those with OCD wishing she would try one more race.
The pair, who were both successful in the Irish Grand National and made punters very happy at Cheltenham, said they had ‘no regrets’ and left with ‘their bottle fully intact’.
Talking about being a jockey, Katie, whose injured brother hopes to be back in the saddle this month, said she had no concerns for her health.