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Ruby Walsh quits on a high after 24 years in the saddle

Final furlong: Ruby Walsh celebrates winning the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup on Kemboy with wife Gillian and daughters Isabelle, Gemma and Elsa
Final furlong: Ruby Walsh celebrates winning the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup on Kemboy with wife Gillian and daughters Isabelle, Gemma and Elsa

By Melanie Finn

Champion jockey Ruby Walsh went out on a high last night by hanging up the saddle on his illustrious 24-year career.

The 39-year-old Kildare man exited in spectacular style after denying Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Al Boum Photo a win in the feature race of the day at Punchestown. But shortly after claiming victory aboard Kemboy in the Gold Cup, he stunned racing fans by announcing he was going to retire immediately.

The 12-time champion jockey was joined in his celebrations by his wife Gillian and daughters Isabelle, Gemma and Elsa.

Walsh said he made up his mind last summer that the end was in sight and he had discussed the decision with his wife. "There comes a time when you want to do something else and I've been a jump jockey for 24 years and I'm nearly 40," he said.

"I'm lucky enough to have great sponsors and contacts in racing. Instead of them being bit-part players in my life, they're going to be my life now."

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