Paul Carberry riding the Noel Meade-trained Apache Stronghold
PICTURE: Alain Barr (racingpost.com/photos)
By Alex Wiltshire and Richard Forristal 7:00PM 9 AUG 2016
NOEL MEADE has led the tributes to Paul Carberry as he coined him “one in a million” in the wake of the Grand National-winning jockey’s retirement due to injury.
Carberry and Meade enjoyed a successful relationship spanning 26 years as Carberry rode the likes of Harchibald, Nicanor and Realt Dubh to Grade 1 victories.
Meade spoke warmly of their time together, and was full of gratitude to Carberry in celebrating their partnership, but sensed it was coming to an end.
“I was afraid this day was going to come because I knew he was struggling with it,” the former Irish champion trainer said.
“We’ve had a great innings together and Paul has had a great innings. We had a few ups and downs, but all in all it was a good partnership.”
A ‘unique talent’
The ability of Carberry to connect with his mount was just one of many talents he possessed, and Noel Meade commended his great horsemanship.
“I often thought that he could teach a horse to do more in one schooling session than someone else would in five. It’s a pity it ends like this, but he has had some good times.
“He was a unique talent, there is no doubt about that. Paul sometimes would ride one of those waiting races and get there to win and people would be in awe of him, but he wouldn’t see anything that special about it. It was second nature to him.
“I remember when he got beat in the Christmas Hurdle on Harchibald and I said to him, “why didn’t you hit him?” And he said to me, “why would I do that? He was doing his best.” He loved the horse, so there was nearly a tear in his eye.
“He was one in a million. Not only was he a very good jockey, but he was a very good friend. I’ll miss him for sure.”
End of an era
Leading jockey Barry Geraghty also lauded the two-time Irish champion jockey on his achievements, whilst former jockey Richard Hughes remembered Carberry’s career fondly.
Geraghty tweeted: “End of an era and a big loss to the weighroom. Wishing @paulcarberry a very happy retirement, one of the bravest and most natural jockeys ever.”
Richard Hughes, who retired last year to begin his training career, tweeted, “Happy retirement @paulcarberry. We started together what fun along the way we had.”