Cheltenham Festival-winning trainer and Classic-winning jockey Christy Roche has called time on his career in racing at the age of 67.
The Tipperary native enjoyed a near 30-year career in the saddle and was crowned champion jockey in his homeland on seven occasions.
Roche hung up his riding boots in 1998, having taken over a licence to train a couple of years earlier, and has enjoyed numerous big-race victories with the likes of Grimes, Joe Mac, Youlneverwalkalone and Like-A-Butterfly, all of whom carried the colours of his main patron JP McManus.
Roche has handed the licence over to his son, Padraig, who told The Irish Field: “Dad is taking a step back but everything else stays the same.
“The owners have been good enough to leave the horses with me and there’s room for a few more.
“I might have the first runners in my own name next weekend.”
As a jockey Roche won the Irish Derby three times, the Irish 2,000 Guineas on four occasions and was a three-time winner of the Irish 1,0000 Guineas.
His Classic triumphs were not just confined to home soil either as he also partnered the David O’Brien-trained Secreto to a memorable short-head success over El Gran Senor in the 1984 Epsom Derby and won the 1991 Epsom Oaks aboard Jim Bolger’s Jet Ski Lady. He also landed the French Derby in 1982 on David O’Brien’s Assert.
Grimes was the stable flag bearer in the early part of Roche’s training career, winning nine races including the 2001 Galway Plate.
Roche enjoyed his first Cheltenham Festival success when saddling Khayrawani to land the 1999 Coral Cup and he went on to add to his tally at Prestbury Park with Youlneverwalkalone in the 2003 William Hill Handicap Chase and Like-A-Butterfly, who won the 2002 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
Like-A-Butterfly won 12 of her 17 races overall, with her notable victories also including a thrilling success over Limestone Lad in the 2003 Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown.