After a season of underachievement and refuted rumour that their partnership was to end, Michael Kinane's five-year tenure as stable jockey to Aidan O'Brien is over. The coveted role as stable jockey at Ballydoyle next season is up for grabs, although it would be astonishing if the ever-careful Tipperary team have not already lined up a replacement for the 44-year-old jockey.
Kinane will be crowned Irish champion for the 13th time today and can justifiably say that he is departing with dignity, having given High Chaparral a marvellous ride to dead-heat for victory in the Breeders' Cup Turf a fortnight ago.
However, as ever with Ballydoyle, the production line is pumping out youngsters of the highest calibre and Kinane will be particularly rueful at breaking up his partnership with One Cool Cat, the favourite for next year's 2,000 Guineas.
O'Brien said: "I suppose all good things come to an end, but we hope Mick will continue to ride for the stable when available. Mick has given our horses some wonderful rides over the years and his ride on High Chaparral in the Breeders' Cup clearly demonstrated he has lost none of his strength, flair or determination.
"I'm sure he has many more good years in the saddle ahead of him and we wish him well."
Kinane's final duties as stable jockey will be to partner Offenbach and Mikado at Leopardstown today. Previously stable jockey to Dermot Weld from 1984 to 1998, he is expected to continue riding as a freelance.
Since teaming up with O'Brien the pair have shared phenomenal success with such as Galileo and Rock Of Gibraltar, but the latter's defeat in the Breeders' Cup Mile last year also brought stinging criticism.
Among the favourites to take over in the hot seat is Jamie Spencer. He won the St Leger for the Ballydoyle team on Brian Boru in September and is without a retaining stable.
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