Ruby Walsh quits role as Paul Nicholls' No 1 jockey

 

Even now, its greatest race cannot find a way to the top of the British racing agenda. True, the prospect of riding in the Investec Derby on Saturday continues to animate Frankie Dettori as he approaches a final obstacle to the restoration of his licence in France. Today, however, it was a jockey of equivalent standing in jump racing who unexpectedly dominated the sport's conversations.

Ruby Walsh's decision to surrender his role as stable jockey to Paul Nicholls was the fruit of a rare opportunity for calm detachment. After the big spring festivals, he has been able to spend precious time at home in Ireland with his young family. At 34, he plainly found this sample of a less frantic lifestyle increasingly to his taste. Having for so long divided his time between Nicholls and Ireland's champion trainer, Willie Mullins, Walsh has decided that even the willingness of both to share his obligations is no longer worth the associated burdens in time and travel.

Nicholls is at pains to emphasise how amicably their 11-year partnership has come to an end. Inevitably, however, he is bound to ponder Walsh's departure in the context of others that had already identified a crossroads in his own career. Harry Fry and Dan Skelton, two of his young lieutenants, have both quit to begin training in their own right, while Kauto Star has been retired and the ageing Big Buck's is sidelined with injury. Last month Nicholls yielded his trainers' title, first wrested from Martin Pipe in 2006, to Nicky Henderson.

As such, the promotion of Daryl Jacob to No 1 jockey at Ditcheat will compound a sense that the stable is rebuilding from young talent. Jacob, 29, was quick to vindicate his appointment as Walsh's understudy by winning the 2012 Grand National on Neptune Collonges. And, as Walsh stressed when breaking the news in his Irish Examiner column: "There was never going to be an easy or right time to make the decision… Silviniaco Conti, Al Ferof, Big Buck's and Zarkandar are hard horses to give away the ride on. However, I no longer feel I can give 100 per cent to two yards – and being a bit-part player will only hinder both. I hope this decision will enable me to prolong the career I love for years to come. Willie's yard is well stocked with talent and hopefully some future stars. What I have left behind is a powerful yard, headed up by a gentleman, and friendships made for life."

None of the acrimony in this instance, then, that disfigured the end of Dettori's still longer association with Godolphin – in which his decision to ride Camelot for Ballydoyle in the Arc last autumn was viewed as the final straw. Paris and the Co Tipperary stable are again central to the Italian's thoughts as he today awaits clearance by a medical commission of the French regulatory body. Dettori has taken a series of additional tests since an unspecified "glitch" caused a delay in the return of his licence, following a six-month drugs suspension. The British Horseracing Authority has promised to expedite its own licensing process, given due encouragement from France Galop today.

The 11th-hour candidature of Magician, following his success at the Curragh on Saturday, has renewed the prospect of Aidan O'Brien fielding a bigger team than he suggested last week – and, in turn, of furnishing Dettori with a mount. O'Brien accounts for six of the 15 hats still in the ring. Chopin, the German raider, was supplemented for £75,000. The going is good, good to firm in places, but rain is anticipated.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Declamation (8.10 Yarmouth) Starts handicaps off a dangerous mark for a well-bred horse.

Next best

If So (6.20 Lingfield)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: On behalf of a successful academy i...

Investigo: Finance Business Partner

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - West London

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...

Recruitment Genius: Florist Shop Manager

£8 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A Florist Shop Manager is required to m...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project