The “two best female riders of all time” have retired from racing in the same week.
Katie Walsh and Nina Carberry have both announced they are to hang up their boots, each after winning her final race at Punchestown.
Katie (pictured, above) announced her retirement on Friday evening (27 April) at Punchestown, following a win on the Willie Mullins-trained Anstey. Her sister-in-law Nina Carberry followed suit the next day after she had ridden Josies Orders, trained by Enda Bolger, to victory.
Katie, who became the highest-placed female Grand National finisher in 2012 when she came third on Seabass, also has three Cheltenham Festival wins to her name, and the 2015 Irish Grand National.
She was delighted to win her last race for Willie, who took his 12th Irish champion jumps trainer title this weekend.
“It’s very emotional and it means an enormous amount to finish off here because Punchestown is so important to me,” she said. “I’ve been coming here for so long, ever since I was a kid, and it’s great to do it on a horse of Willie’s; I couldn’t have done half of it without him.
“I wanted to go out on a winner. I’ve had a marvellous career with unbelievable memories. The only thing I’d love to have done is to win an English National.”
She was greeted by a guard of honour of fellow jockeys and welcomed by her family, including father Ted, who said: “Katie said if she rode a winner she’d call it a day. It’s a lovely way for her to finish.
“She’s done more than we’d ever have thought she’d achieve.”
Nina had planned to retire on Saturday whether she won or not but was pleased to ride a winner for Enda to finish on a high.
“It was really sweet to finish off on Josies Orders,” she said. “Enda has been a massive supporter and I wouldn’t have had all the Cheltenham winners without him and J P [McManus].
“I’m sad and happy. Sad that I’m finished and going to miss all the banter but happy I’ve got a new career ahead of me.”
Enda was among those who paid tribute to Nina, saying she “gave everything 110%”, while fellow trainer Noel Meade said she was a “fabulous tactician”.
Sam Waley-Cohen and Nina Carberry will no longer have to sit on the sidelines for next month’s Grand National
The successful female jockey won on her first ride back since giving birth in May
Nina said she will carry on riding out, as well as buying and selling horses.
“I watched the race with Nina’s mum and the final 200 yards were the longest 200 yards I’ve ever seen,” said Enda. “I’m stuck for words but at the same time so happy for Nina. She gave everything 110% and you never needed to give her instructions in a race; you just left it all to her. She’s a Carberry and they are natural horsemen.”
Jockey Robbie Power added: “The two best female riders of all time have gone in the same week.”
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Also in the current edition (26 April), don’t miss our full Badminton preview, including cross-country course walk with Mary King and full form guide for every horse and rider.