The combination of trainer Renee Robeson, her horse Ogee and jockey Jimmy McCarthy were successful for a seventh and final time at Southwell yesterday. After winning the Denis Wright Memorial Handicap Hurdle, McCarthy announced his retirement after more than 25 years in the saddle.
There were good reasons for choosing this particular moment, as Ogee is the horse on which he had his finest moment as a jockey, when winning the Sefton Novices Hurdle at the Grand National meeting in 2009. McCarthy has ridden the ten year old on all of his 33 runs over jumps, and the two have a special affinity. He explained his decision to At The Races.
“It's been on my mind for a while and I wanted to do it on that horse and for Mrs Robeson, as she's been very good to me over the years. I wanted to go out on him, I was determined to win one more on him as he gave me the only Grade One (win) I've ever had. I've been around that long that most of them (trainers) that I used to ride for aren't here any more! "I've been very lucky to have ridden for everyone from champion trainers to struggling men. I've ridden a lot of nice horses; I've had a lot of luck, no major breaks or time off or stuff like that. I'm getting out in one piece and count myself very lucky. I've had plenty of good people behind me for a very long time, none more so than Mrs Robeson herself."
During his time as a jockey, McCarthy gained a reputation as one of the jockeys who managed to blag many more lifts to the races from his colleagues than he gave them. He would fix up a meeting place, hide his car away and wait at the side of the road with his bag. The result – a relaxing ride to the races and back home.
Now he plans to spend more time working with Jamie Osborne in Upper Lambourn. He said, “I'm there every day, it's taking up more and more of my time. I've coached a few of the kids, Tom Garner, Gavin Sheehan, Eddie Linehan and that takes time - there's plenty to do.”