‘It’s time for the next generation’: Gold Cup-winning jockey bows out after 27-year career

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  • Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning jockey Paddy Brennan signed off on his 27-year career in the saddle with his 1,526th winner yesterday (17 April).

    Paddy partnered his final ride, Manothepeople, to victory in the Weatherite Air Conditioning Handicap Chase on the opening day of the April meeting at Cheltenham, for long-standing supporter, trainer Fergal O’Brien.

    The 43-year-old landed his biggest career win in the 2010 Gold Cup aboard Imperial Commander. He also has five other Cheltenham Festival wins to his name, piloted Cue Card to King George VI glory in 2015 – “a race I’ll never forget” – and scored a total of 18 Grade One wins.

    “In 27 years, I’ve been so, so lucky. It has been a rollercoaster, so many ups and so many downs, but I feel I’ve got down to the edge of the ocean and walked down to the beach,” said Paddy.

    “I’ve been mulling it over for weeks and asked so many people’s opinions if I was doing the right thing. I went for a coffee with my wife this morning and thought it’s time for the next generation of jockeys.

    “I am so pleased to have worked with the best in the game and I’m so proud of all the young lads in the weighing room. It’s a tough gig.

    “It was extra special to finish on a winner.”

    Paddy Brennan started his career on the Flat and his first ride was in 1997 at the Curragh for Jim Bolger. He later switched to jumps and was crowned champion conditional in 2005.

    “When you drive past this place to go shopping in Cheltenham, it still gives you tingles even when it’s empty,” he said.

    “The people make it extra special but even when they are not here, it is unique. When all the Irish come here for the Festival, it is like home from home.

    “Being a jockey is 95% disappointment and I’ve had 95% disappointment for so many years. I’ve had some enjoyment but now I’m ready for the next chapter.”

    Paddy Brennan added: “When I usually go on holiday I’m thinking about my next ride so I want a break from all that and I have a couple of things lined up. My phone number is there for anyone who wants to ring me and I’m ready for the future.”

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