I enjoyed yesterday. I enjoyed the race and I enjoyed revealing the decision I made. Obviously, I had a rough plan in my mind, but I was hoping for the fairytale ending. Not everyone gets that. But I did, thank god.
Only my mum, dad and Jennifer (sister and agent) knew. And my wife Gillian of course. She knew a long time ago. But that was it, I told nobody else. I got down off a horse and told my boss as I always said I would.
I said you may get someone else to ride him (Livelovelaugh) in the next.
Willie knew immediately that I was serious. He just looked me in the eye and shook my hand.
Winning all of those big races over the past few months, deep down I was treasuring those moments. I knew they wouldn’t be happening again. But that was for me to enjoy.
When AP McCoy retired it was a sad day. I wanted yesterday to feel like a celebration. I was retiring, I wasn’t dying! I knew there was lots of speculation, but that didn’t bother me much. I knew what I was going to do. I was making my own decisions. I know it came as a bit of a surprise to a lot of people. But I didn’t want to do the lap of honour. I just wanted to retire and get out.
We joined some friends in the La Touche Restaurant at the track and headed from there to the snug of a local pub. The usual set of friends and family appeared and we sipped our way merrily through the night.
When we got home I sat down on the couch with Gillian and watched the replay. Given that I’m only a part-time drinker, we had to watch it all again this morning!
I waved at the finishing line as I knew it was all over, so I was just saying goodbye. You can’t plan a fairytale exit. I didn’t do it on Klassical Dream because I wanted to ride in the big races. But I’m not a poker player. I didn’t really feel like rolling the dice again after Kemboy.
If the horses didn’t win today or on Friday or Saturday I’d have been kicking myself for not getting out on Kemboy. The opportunity presented itself. I wasn’t going to hand it back.
Obviously, Willie didn’t know I was going to retire, so we haven’t discussed the future. But I’ve every intention of keeping busy and staying fit and I don’t plan on getting heavy. I was feeding horses this morning belonging to Willie.
For now, we’ll plan a family holiday. I’m really looking forward to bringing the kids skiing next year maybe. I can’t wait to do that. These things weren’t options for me before because of the risks. And I’ve missed out on the simple things, like football matches. All of those things happen at weekends. They don’t sit in with a sportsperson’s life.
Suddenly, I can be there for more of those moments now.