The popular Robbie Power, who has won many of UK and Irish racing’s most prestigious races, has confirmed that he will retire from the saddle following Friday’s action at the Punchestown Festival.
The Irishman, who has achieved the much-coveted Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National double, has confirmed that a succession of injuries have left him with no choice but to hand up his whip.
— RTÉ Racing (@RTEracing) April 28, 2022
The 40-year-old, who has been a top-flight jockey for more than two decades, has previously had back surgery and suffered another setback at the tailend of 2021 when he fractured his hip after a fall.
“It’s down to the injuries,” Power confirmed of his decision.
“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.”
He will bow out where it all began at Punchestown, and there could yet be cause for more celebration. Along with rides in a mares’ chase, Power will ride the quietly fancied Teahupoo in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle – can the duo end Honeysuckle’s unbeaten reign?
“There’s been several days I’ve woke up thinking this was it,” he has said.
“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.
“The whole family are coming tomorrow [Friday], and I’ve got a couple of good rides left.”
The man known as ‘Puppy’ has certainly shown plenty of bite on National Hunt racing’s biggest stages.
Many of his finest days have come courtesy of Jessica Harrington and her yard of stars, including his very first Grade One winner – of which there have been 31 – onboard the trainer’s Carrigeen Victor back in 2005.
Power’s partnership with Sizing John brought him, Harrington, connections and punters alike a number of happy moments, including the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2017 and the Punchestown Gold Cup that same year, and triumphed in the Irish Grand National on Our Duke.
Fifteen of his Grade One winners came courtesy of Harrington, but Power also enjoyed some major successes in collaboration with Colin Tizzard. Those include the memorable 2019 win in the Betfair Chase aboard Lostintranslation.
A four-time winner at the Cheltenham Festival, Power took down the RSA Chase and Flogas Novices’ Chase on Bostons Angel in 2011, and thrice stuck gold aboard Supasundae – prevailing in the Coral Cup at Prestbury Park as well as the Irish Champion Hurdle and Punchestown Champion Hurdle on home soil.
The tributes have come flooding in, with former jockey turned pundit Mick Fitzgerald writing:
“An honour to have shared the weighing room with you. One of the nicest guys out there. Class act in and out of the saddle. Good luck in the next chapter.”