"I don't know if I'll ride again" | Donnacha O'Brien clarifies his 'retirement' announcement


Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

15.41 29 Nov 2019


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Earlier this week, Donnacha O'Brien announced his decision to step away from his career as a jockey at the age of 21.

The former Group One-winning jockey is instead going to concentrate on becoming a trainer.

Just over a year on from his last appearance on our Friday Night Racing show, he joined us to explain why he's decided to swap life on a horse to a career in training them.

"I was never going to ride forever," he said.

"So it was just a matter of time before I called it. It was never going to be a good time to retire when you have a job like I did. There were always going to be good horses to look forward to and good races.

"So it was more I have something else coming up and I think it was just time to move to that chapter."

O'Brien also added that it was far from a snap decision.

"I've known for a good while - probably over a year ago," he said.

Low Profile

"I just wanted to keep it quiet and do it as low profile as possible. And I didn't want to tie myself down to anything and even now when I put out the thing on Twitter, I wanted to leave it as open as possible."

"I didn't rule out riding again. But as the media do, they locked on and there were headlines, 'O'Brien Quits Saddle' straight away. That's the way it is. I wanted to keep it low profile and I wanted to put it out now so I wouldn't have to deal with it come March. That's why I did it now."

However, he added that he's going to renew his jockey licence.

"I don't know if I'll ride again," he continued.

"It's very possible that I won't. But look, if come March or May and my weight's not too bad and I could have a good ride in a classic, it might be hard to say no.

"It's very possible I won't ride again - probably likely - but not impossible that I will."

You can watch the full chat with Donnacha O'Brien above via our YouTube channel. Our racing coverage is in association with Horse Racing Ireland.


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