When you’re coming to the end of your career there’s always talk about who’s next coming through, and who’s going to take over the mantle.
But that’s the same in every sport. There’s always someone coming up behind you that you’re trying to stay ahead of.
At the start of my career I got given chances – I got on Imperial Call at Punchestown in the Irish Gold Cup when AP McCoy was riding Doran’s Pride and Richard Dunwoody was riding Florida Pearl.
I suppose I took over from Charlie Swan, who was coming to the end of his career. He’d nearly stopped riding over fences by then – I think I only rode in one chase with him.
Yes, I was getting opportunities but myself and Barry Geraghty definitely came at a time when there was an opening. Charlie was just on the way out but there was an opening that we were able to fill into.
Not only coming to the end of my career, but all through my career, I was looking over my shoulder at the opposition. You’re trying to stay ahead of them so they didn’t get on your rides.
No-one is contracted in racing, so any trainer or any owner can use the best available on any day. That fear was always there, but I don’t think it was a bad thing. It definitely kept you on your toes.
When it came to my retirement, I was lucky enough to bow out with a win on Kemboy in the Punchestown Gold Cup.
But if that hadn’t happened, I would have called time on my career if Chacun Pour Soi won the next day!
I wanted to ride in the Gold Cup, and from there on the next Grade One winner I rode was going to be the one I bowed out on.
Thankfully I did it in 2019 because 2020 would have been a bit awkward! I was rolling the dice, but I was lucky enough to work for Willie Mullins.
Willie Mullins, at Punchestown, barring injury – I thought I would be lucky enough to ride a winner. Simple!
FROM PADDY POWER’S RACING ICONS DOCUMENTARY WITH RUBY…
- I took Annie Power home for the summer… and horse joined our family BBQs!
- My biggest Cheltenham regret and one race I’d love to have a second chance at
- Ruby’s hilarious story about dad Ted’s terrible medical advice after nasty leg break