'I've Left My Mark In The Weighing Room' – Paddy Brennan Retires

Paddy Brennan and Manothepeople pose for the cameras | Racingfotos.com

Fergal O'Brien and Colin Tizzard were among those to pay tribute to Paddy Brennan, the Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning rider who retired at the age of 43 after partnering Manothepeople (Ire) (Mahler {GB}) to victory at Prestbury Park on Wednesday.

Brennan recorded over 1,500 winners in a career as a National Hunt jockey spanning more than two decades, notably landing the 2010 Gold Cup on Imperial Commander. His other high-profile victories at the Cheltenham Festival included the 2007 World Hurdle on Inglis Drever, while he'll also be remembred for his association with the popular Cue Card on whom he won six races, including the 2015 King George VI Chase at Kempton.

After returning aboard Manothepeople to a rapturous reception, Brennan told Racing TV, “It's been a rollercoaster, so many ups, so many downs, but I feel like I've got to the end of the ocean and walked onto the beach.

“It's been on my mind a few weeks, I've been asking opinions, but I went for a coffee with my wife this morning and I felt certain. It's time for the next generation of jockeys. I've worked with the best in the game, there are young lads in the weighing room now, but I've worked with them all. It's a tough gig, it's constant.

“I've left my mark in the weighing room. I've been a strict kind of lad, done plenty of shouting, but I love them all. Being a jockey is 95 per cent disappointment. I've had some enjoyment, but I'm ready for the next chapter.”

Reflecting on his most memorable days in the saddle, Brennan added, “Imperial Commander has to be the highlight, winning a Gold Cup, but I'll never forget Cue Card winning the King George, beating Ruby Walsh on Vautour. You're taking on the best and getting him up that day was something I was really proud of.”

Tizzard, who entrusted Brennan with the ride on Cue Card, said, “I'm not great at texting, but I've just texted Paddy to say it was an absolute pleasure working with him and Cue Card. I'm sure Paddy remembers the Gold Cup [fall when in contention in 2016] more than anything, but that's racing and he was fantastic on him for the time he rode him. He was a brilliant horse and Paddy was brilliant on him.

“I remember watching the King George and I was stood on the lawn there at Kempton in a crowd of people and they were all taller than me! I couldn't see whether he got up or not, but as soon as I walked round, everyone was patting me on the back. We had some brilliant times and Paddy is a good man.”

Long-time ally O'Brien was similarly effusive in his praise, adding, “We loaded today up for this reason and it was important that Paddy got that winner. He's been a phenomenal ally for me. I remember listening to Philip Hobbs when Richard Johnson retired and he said they'd never had a cross word–the same can't be said for me and Paddy!

“It's always been done in the best of interests though and he'll be a huge loss, but I'm pretty sure it won't be the end of Fergal O'Brien and Paddy Brennan. I'm very proud to call him a friend. We've had so many highlights, so many great days, from things like Accidental Legend winning at Uttoxeter, which was a 0-100, to some great days here, like Bonttay and The Govaness.

“I'm so grateful that he was on our team–he's been a great servant to us.”

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