Ruby Walsh has stepped down as number one jockey to former champion trainer Paul Nicholls. Daryl Jacob will take the job.
Last Updated: 27/05/13 8:51am
Walsh and Nicholls: No more
The partnership between two of jumps racing's biggest names, Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh, has come to an end after more than a decade of success.
Grand National-winning rider Daryl Jacob has been promoted to the number one position at Nicholls' Ditcheat yard.
Nicholls and 34-year-old Walsh had struck up one of the most successful partnerships in jumps history, with the great Kauto Star central to the success story.
The Irish-based jockey cited travel demands as being one of the chief reasons for the split.
Nicholls told his Betfair column: "Daryl takes over as the number one, and I am as delighted for him as I am sad to see Ruby go - Daryl has earned his chance.
"Myself and Ruby have been chatting for the past couple of months. 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.
"It would have been exhausting for someone young and single, let alone a grey and ageing family man.
"But he was getting up before 5am, and not getting home until after 8pm, when riding over here - before his girls got up in the morning, and after they went to bed most nights - and when you have a young family that must really take its toll.
"So, for personal rather than professional reasons, he has taken the decision to end his near 11-year role as stable jockey at Ditcheat, having started here in October 2002, to concentrate on riding in Ireland.
"He came over to explain his decision on Saturday, and we both agreed it was the best way forward in the circumstances.
"After he had left for the airport, I texted him to say, 'Thanks for all the magic moments'.
"And he texted back, 'Magic, they were. And you made the success I have had, which made today the hardest call I have ever made. Thanks for the way you reacted, a gentleman and a friend'.
"That really meant a lot to me. 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."Walsh said Nicholls had been "responsible for some of the most amazing days of my life".
He told the Irish Examiner: "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.
"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.
"From King Georges and Tingle Creeks, to Champion Chases, World Hurdles and Gold Cups, he has been behind them all.
"With horses like Kauto Star, Denman, Master Minded, Azertyuiop, Strong Flow and Twist Magic, to the current stars Big Buck's, Silviniaco Conti and Al Ferof, great horses were, and still, are a stable diet in Ditcheat.
"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."