Robbie Power announced he will be retiring on Friday after partnering Magic Daze to victory at the Punchestown Festival on Thursday.
Power, 40, who has won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Grand National and the Irish Grand National among a host of other major races, has suffered badly with injury in recent years.
Having returned from a lengthy absence with a back injury in January 2021 he was then out between October last year and January 2022 when he fractured his hip.
Winners have been hard to come by since his return – but he almost went out in style when finishing second in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Minella Indo.
He looked as good as ever on Henry de Bromhead’s Magic Daze in the Pigsback.com Handicap Chase, but confirmed his final ride will be on Gordon Elliott’s Teahupoo in the Paddy Power Champion Hurdle.
Power, who thanked Jessica Harrington for being his biggest supporter throughout his career, has also enjoyed success with Elliott and had a short spell in the UK with Colin Tizzard.
He won the Grand National on Elliott’s Silver Birch in 2007, the Gold Cup on Harrington’s Sizing John in 2017 and the pair doubled up to win the Irish National with Our Duke in the same season.
That was arguably Power’s best ever campaign as it also saw him link up with Tizzard to win three Grade Ones at the Grand National meeting with Pingshou, Fox Norton and Finian’s Oscar. Fox Norton and Sizing John would also win at Punchestown to cap an amazing two months.
Unfortunately for Power a downturn in Tizzard’s form coincided with his injury troubles and he moved back home. But Tizzard was responsible for his last Grade One winner, Fiddlerontheroof in the 2020 Tolworth Hurdle.
Power said: “It’s down to the injuries. I had my back operated on last summer, got back in October and then I fractured my hip. I’m 41 next month and I’m not getting any younger. I had injections in my hip but it didn’t really work.
“The whole family are coming tomorrow and I’ve got a couple of good rides left. My wife knew and my agent knew, but my father always told me if you tell one person you’ve told one person too many so I was trying to keep it as quiet as possible.
“There’s been several days I’ve woke up thinking this was it. If I’d won the Gold Cup I’d have gone then, but Punchestown has been lucky for me so to go here, where I rode my first winner and now I’m guaranteed to ride my last one here, that will do.
“It’s a relief to announce it, as even this morning my agent was asking me if I was sure. I wanted to go out on something of a high but I have to do exercises every morning just to enable me to ride.
“I’ve been doing it 21 years and if someone said I’d ride the winners I have I’d have taken it. To ride for Jessica Harrington basically my whole career, I’ve been very lucky. She took me under her wing and nearly all my big winners were for her.
“She stood by me through all the highs and lows and has been an unbelievable mentor to me.”
Of Magic Daze, who was a two-and-a-quarter-length scorer from Mt Leinster at 3-1, Power added: “We were very disappointed coming out of Galway when she got beaten, but she got beaten by Noble Yeats and Gabynako so the form worked out quite well.
“She’s progressed nicely, she probably didn’t run her race at Cheltenham in the Arkle but back in handicap company today, on nice ground, she jumped off and never missed a beat.
“She jumped from fence to fence, she’s free-going but you don’t have to worry about giving her a breather as she gives herself breathers. She’s an easy ride.”