Paul Carberry: two-time champion won a host of big races in career
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
By David Baxter 1:59PM 9 AUG 2016
PAUL CARBERRY has been forced to retire from the saddle after meeting with an orthopedic specialist on Tuesday.
Carberry, 42, was one of the most talented riders of his generation, but has not ridden competitively since last September when fracturing his left femur in a fall at Listowel.
He then had to undergo further surgery when he cracked the steel reinforcements in his leg in a fall at home in January.
On Tuesday Carberry met with well-known orthopedic surgeon Dr Paddy Kenny at Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown, who advised him not to pursue a return to the saddle.
“It didn’t go great,” Carberry revealed. “Dr Kenny said that the leg is still too weak and that I’d be better off not coming back – he couldn’t pass me fit to ride. I suppose I knew the last month that the leg wasn’t getting stronger, but it is still a blow. I was half hoping that I might get back. It’s a day that had to come at some stage, but it’s difficult to take. I am gutted.”
National win “a dream come true”
Carberry rode a host of big-race winners during his career, including the 1999 Grand National at Aintree aboard his father Tommy’s Bobbyjo.
Reflecting on his career he said: “The National is the highlight. It was a dream come true. To win the National was always my dream, but then to win it for my father was unreal altogether.
“He had been the last to ride an Irish winner of it before me (on L’Escargot in 1975), so it was a big family day. I’ve had a chat with Dad and this is sad for him too, because I’ve never known anything else, but he said to listen to the doctors, because they know best.”
‘Harchibald was the best horse I rode’
Carberry developed an enduring relationship with his Co Meath neighbour Noel Meade. Their association would prove one of the most successful Irish jumps combinations in recent times, notwithstanding Harchibald’s contentious 2005 Champion Hurdle defeat to his nemesis Hardy Eustace in what was an utterly mesmerising spectacle.
“I had a great time and rode a lot of good winners in big races, especially for Noel [Meade]. Harchibald was the best horse I rode for him and winning the title a couple of times was special as well. Noel was easy enough to work for and a great friend.”
A 14-time winner at the Cheltenham Festival, Carberry was two-time champion jockey in Ireland, in 2002 and 2003, and he rode nearly 1,600 winners since first tasting success on the Jim Bolger-trained Petronelli at Leopardstown in 1990.