Walsh and Nicholls Announce Split

Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh announced on Tuesday that their partnership, one of the most successful in the history of jumps racing, will not continue in 2013.

Walsh was responsible for the amicable split as he wants to concentrate on riding for leading Irish trainer Willie Mullins, which will allow him to spend more time with his young family that is based in Ireland.

Walsh rode over a dozen Group 1 winners for Nicholls from 2004 to 2012 with the leading jockey forming a successful partnership with the legendary Kauto Star and four-time World Hurdle winner Big Buck’s.

Nicholls was quick to pay tribute to Walsh and said he was hopeful that Walsh will still ride for him when available.

“Myself and Ruby have been chatting for the past couple of months,” Nicholls said in his Betfair column.

“It was clear that the constant travelling to and from Ireland, with his wife Gillian and the girls at home was becoming a bit of a grind for him.

“He and his family have been coming to Ditcheat for as long as I can remember, and the bond our families have formed down the years will remain, whatever happens.

“It isn’t as if he is severing all his ties here at Ditcheat anyway, as he will continue to ride for us this season and in the future when he is needed and when he is available.”

Walsh said he is thankful for the support that Nicholls has given him throughout his career but decided his family had to come first.

“I started as Paul’s stable jockey in October 2002, but when I chose to live in Ireland, this was always going to be a job that involved a lot of travelling,” Walsh told the Irish Examiner.

“Paul has never been anything but fair and honest since our association began and has been responsible for some of the most amazing days of my life.

“Being stable jockey there enabled me to ride in, and win, the biggest races in our sport, so walking away from my position as stable jockey was never going to be easy.

“However, I felt towards the end of last season that the travelling was starting to take its toll – my family and I were like passing ships in the night.”

Daryl Jacob, who rode Neptune Collonges to victory in the 2012 Grand National, will take over as Nicholl’s number one stable jockey.

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