Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer Tom Taaffe has decided to end his training career after 27 years.
Taaffe, who saddled Kicking King to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2005 and two King George VI Chases in 2004 and 2005, feels the time is right for him change direction. He will, however, remain in the thoroughbred industry.
“In life you make decisions and I’ve probably been thinking about it for a year or two – it’s just the right time now,” said the County Kildare handler.
“It’s all part of a programme and this is the time now that I need to just move on. I’m involved in sales, breeding and a few other things.”
He added: “Every time you have a winner is a great moment and I was very fortunate to have many of them. The principal races were in our grasp both as a rider and as a trainer, and I’m very happy with it.”
Taaffe, 57, the son of the mighty Arkle’s jockey Pat Taaffe, was a capable rider himself, winning the Irish Grand National on Brittany Boy in 1987.
He went on to enjoy great success as a trainer, having three winners in all at the Cheltenham Festival, with Delphi Lodge being his first Grade One winner in the Power Gold Cup at Fairyhouse in 1998.
He had his last winner with Goose Man at Down Royal last Wednesday and final runner at Downpatrick on Sunday. Both were partnered by his amateur rider son, named Pat after his father.