Top female jockeys retire

Top female jockeys retire


Tony O’Hehir: Nina Carberry followed fellow pioneering jump jockey and sister-in-law Katie Walsh into retirement after winning the opening race at Punchestown on Saturday.

After booting home the Enda Bolger-trained Josies Orders to win the cross-country contest by eight and a half lengths, the 33-year-old revealed it was her final ride, just as Walsh had done the day before after scoringt on Antey.

Picture: Patrick McCann


Carberry said: “It’s sweet to finish off on a winner. I had more or less decided I would stop today regardless. I’m delighted to have won on Josies Orders for JP [McManus] and Enda as I’ve enjoyed many great days with them.

“I’m sad it’s finished and I’ll miss the banter in the weighing room, but it’s time to move on.

“I’d like to thank JP and Enda for the massive support they gave me over the years and also Noel [Meade], to whom I owe a lot, and Gordon Elliott and the Gigginstown team who, with many others, were good supporters during my career. Trainers like Noel and Gordon are who you want to be riding for.”

Carberry was cheered into the winner’s enclosure, where among those waiting to greet her were husband Ted Walsh jnr and their year-old daughter Rosie, her brother Paul and mother Pamela.

Carberry, who like Walsh hails from Irish racing royalty, won two Grade 1s in a stellar career, becoming the first female jump jockey in Ireland or Britain to win a top-flight race when landing the Grade 1 bumper at the Punchestown festival in 2006 on Leading Run for long-time supporter Meade.

She won the same race the following year on Mick The Man, also trained by Meade.

Other big-race winners included the 2011 Irish Grand National on Organisedconfusion, trained by her uncle Arthur Moore, while she partnered seven winners at the Cheltenham Festival, making her the most successful female jockey in festival history.

She rode her first Cheltenham Festival winner in 2005, when partnering the Paul Nolan-trained Dabiroun to victory in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

Her subsequent festival victories were all achieved for Bolger and McManus. She won the cross-country chase four times, on Heads Onthe Ground in 2007, Garde Champetre in 2008 and 2009, and Josies Orders in 2016 when first-past-the-post Any Currency was later disqualified for testing positive for a banned substance.

Carberry won the Foxhunter Chase on On The Fringe in 2015 and 2016, and also won the Fox Hunters’ at Aintree on the same horse in 2015.

Daughter of former Irish champion jockey and Grand National-winning rider and trainer Tommy Carberry, who died last year, she became only the second female, after Frances Crowley, to win Ireland’s amateur riders’ championship in the 2005-2006 season, a title she retained the following year.

Carberry revealed she and sister-in-law Walsh had not revealed their intentions to retire to each other until this week.

She said: “I was walking the course on Tuesday with Katie and I said to her that this would be my last Punchestown, and she said to me ‘I’ve something to tell you as well, I’m going to retire upon my next winner’.

“We didn’t know what each was planning. We had a little hug and a cry.”

Carberry added she intends to continue riding out at Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle stable, while also buying and selling a few horses.

Meade, with whom Carberry had a long association as an amateur rider and at one stage as assistant trainer, said: “She’s marvellous and has been an absolute star. With Nina, what you see is what you get. It’s always been that way. There are no sides to her.

“She’s a great judge, a great jockey and a fabulous person. It was a pleasure to work with her and have anything to do with her. She told me during the week. I was a little bit shocked but I’m thrilled she got out in one piece and is okay. That’s brilliant.”

Bolger said: “I’m so happy for Nina that she’s gone out on a winner. You always got 110 per cent from her. We would discuss plans but you never had to give her instructions.

“What made her special? She’s a Carberry. That’s what made her special.”

Born July 21, 1984
Family Parents: Tommy and Pamela Carberry. Uncle: Arthur Moore. Brothers: Paul, Philip and Peterjon Carberry. Husband: Ted Walsh jr (brother of Ruby and Katie)

First winner Sabrinsky (trainer Noel Meade), Ladies’ Derby, Curragh, July 15, 2001

Irish Grand National winner Organisedconfusion (2011)

Cheltenham Festival winners Dabiroun (2005 Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle), Heads Onthe Ground (2007 Sporting Index Cross Country Chase), Garde Champetre (2008 & 2009 BGC/Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase), On The Fringe (2015 & 2016 Foxhunter Chase), Josies Orders (2016 Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase)

Grade 1 winners Leading Run (2006 Champion INH Flat Race, Punchestown), Mick The Man (2007 Champion INH Flat Race, Punchestown)

Grade 2 winners Karanja (2005 Tote NH Flat Race, Newbury), Salford City (2007 Tipperary Hurdle), Corskeagh Royale (2007 Future Champions INH Flat Race, Navan), Don Cossack (2011 Future Champions INH Flat Race, Navan)

Other big-race winners Mansony (2005 Tote Ireland Hurdle), On The Fringe (2014, 2015 & 2016 Champion Hunters Chase, Punchestown, 2015 Aintree Fox Hunters’ Chase), Death Duty (2015 Future Champions INH Flat Race, Navan)
Rides in Grand National 6 (best position 7th on Character Building, 2010)

Champion amateur rider 2005-06, 2006-07
Most wins in an Irish season 39 in 2009-10
Total wins in Ireland 395 (345 NH, 50 Flat)
Total wins in Britain 17 (all NH)
Last winner Josies Orders, Punchestown, April 28, 2018
Compiled by John Randall.

Courtesy of

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