David Walsh to share knowledge with apprentice jockeys

Former jockey David Walsh will begin a full-time role working with New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing next month.
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Former jockey David Walsh will begin a full-time role working with New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing next month.

Record-breaking jockey David Walsh will spend his retirement mentoring the next generation of riders coming through the ranks.

Walsh, who announced his retirement back in January, following 41 seasons in the saddle, will take up a full-time role with New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) in early June.

He will mentor and support apprentice jockeys and promote careers in thoroughbred racing as well as being responsible for health and safety and licensing.

Walsh is excited about the opportunity to share his vast knowledge and experience with the apprentice jockeys in the South Island.

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"I've already been helping the young riders down here [in Canterbury] off and on for the last five or six years," he said.

Walsh, who has been working part-time for premiership leading harness racing trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, will take over from Will Harnett who has resigned to take up employment outside of the racing industry.

"I didn't want to leave the industry and this has come along at the right time," Walsh said.

He became the most successful jockey in New Zealand, in terms of wins, when he rode his 2360th winner back in 2014 to go past the previous record set by Lance O'Sullivan.

Walsh, who has been in the industry all of his adult life, hopes to use his passion for the sport to recruit new blood into the racing industry.

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"We need to go out there, into the schools and pony clubs, to explain what a great industry this is to work in," Walsh said.

"They aren't coming to us at the moment and we need to get out there and find the riders and staff of the future. 

"They need to know that you don't have to be a Jim Cassidy or an Opie Bosson to do well."

Walsh's riding highlights include two New Zealand premierships and wins in iconic Australian races the Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup, Brisbane Cup and Adelaide Cup.

He also made a mark as a trainer, winning a Group I race with Zirna.

NZTR racing operations manager Tim Aldridge said the organisation was delighted to have secured somebody of Walsh's calibre and that he was the ideal candidate to continue the good work done by Harnett.

 - Stuff

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