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Katie Walsh: Jockey announces retirement after Punchestown win

[img]https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/480/cpsprodpb/6EED/production/_101079382_katiewalsh2_inpho.jpg" srcset="https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/240/cpsprodpb/6EED/production/_101079382_katiewalsh2_inpho.jpg 240w, https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/320/cpsprodpb/6EED/production/_101079382_katiewalsh2_inpho.jpg 320w, https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/480/cpsprodpb/6EED/production/_101079382_katiewalsh2_inpho.jpg 480w, https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/624/cpsprodpb/6EED/production/_101079382_katiewalsh2_inpho.jpg 624w, https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/800/cpsprodpb/6EED/production/_101079382_katiewalsh2_inpho.jpg 800w" sizes="(min-width: 900px) 50vw, (min-width: 600px) 70vw, 100vw" alt="Katie Walsh" class="">
Walsh comes from one of Ireland's leading horse racing familiesKatie Walsh - the highest-placed female finisher of a Grand National - has retired from the sport.The 33-year-old Irish jockey, who was third in the 2012 Aintree showpiece on Seabass, quit after winning on Antey in the Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.Walsh, whose brother Ruby is also a leading jockey, said she "wanted to go out on a winner".
"I've had a marvellous career and I've unbelievable memories. The next chapter in life begins now," she said."I said to myself that I'd retire whenever I rode my next winner, whether it be here at Punchestown or wherever."I'd be the first one sitting at home saying: 'When is she going to be hanging up her boots[/img]
Walsh finished 12th in her last Grand National on Baie Des Iles, trained by her husband Ross O'Sullivan.A three-time winner at the Cheltenham Festival, including last month's Champion Bumper on Relegate, she also won the 2015 Irish Grand National on Thunder And Roses.Walsh picked up the ride on Antey after intended jockey Danny Mullins was injured earlier in the day. The 9-1 chance, trained by Willie Mullins, won by a nose.Her fellow riders gave her a guard of honour as she returned to the weighing room for the final time."I wanted to ride in a National for Ross and did that, and have ridden winners in France, Australia, England and Ireland and was very lucky throughout my career," she added."I've had the backing of dad and Ross, and wouldn't have ridden half these winners without the backing of Willie."Everyone is here, my husband Ross and my family. I couldn't have picked a better place."
Read more: At home with a family that lives and breathes horse racing
Analysis
BBC horse racing correspondent Cornelius LysaghtAs long-held prejudices recede ever more rapidly, the profile of female jockeys is growing all the time and history will judge that Katie Walsh played a prominent part in what her sex has achieved. Her ability in the saddle and her easy but authoritative style in front of the microphones and cameras thrust her into the limelight, making her an articulate advocate, though she was never entirely happy with that role often saying, including as a pundit on the BBC, that she saw herself as 'a jockey' and not 'a female jockey'. No woman has ridden a Grand National winner yet, but with people like Walsh around it will happen soon; considering how big a player she's been in recent Grand Nationals, I won't be the only one feeling a slight sense of disappointment this news means it won't be her.
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