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    Paddy Brennan: "I'll cherish these days forever"
Paddy Brennan: "I'll cherish these days forever"
Paddy Brennan: "I'll cherish these days forever". Source: mirror.co.uk

Paddy Brennan: "I'll cherish these days forever"

Raffles Gold Cup winner Paddy Brennan, who retired on a winning high at Cheltenham on Manothepeople, expressed his pride at "leaving my mark" on the weighing room.

Throughout a nearly two-decade career, Brennan rode more than 1,500 winners. Notable victories included the 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup aboard Imperial Commander and the King George glory aboard Cue Card. Brennan experienced a final, unforgettable moment when he scored in a 3m2f handicap chase and was met with a hero's welcome.

Brennan, who turned 43 on Saturday, rode the first runner for Fergal O'Brien's stable in 2011 and, fittingly, ended his career for the trainer who has produced more jump winners than any other yard, with close to 500 wins under his belt. The jockey claimed that the local track, where the swansong occurred, still "makes me tingle."  

Originally from Galway, Brennan stated: “I've been in this country 27 years and I've been so, so lucky. It's been a rollercoaster, so many ups and so many downs, but I feel like I've got to the end of the ocean and walked on to the beach. I've been mulling it over for weeks and asking so many people's opinions. I kept saying to Fergal I don't want to ride that, I don't want to ride that and I just got to that stage. Cheltenham is the best place in the world, so it's special to do it here. I'll cherish these days forever. That was special. You want to go out here and to have a winner is extra special. I often think if I wave to the stands there might not be anyone there. Even when you drive past this place to get your shopping it gives you tingles. Cheltenham is that kind of place. It's unique”.

Brennan highlighted: “It’s time for the next generation of jockeys. I'm so pleased to have worked with the best in the game and I'm so proud of some of the young lads in that weighing room. It's a tough gig. It's constant. I've left my mark in there. I'm a strict kind of lad, I've done plenty of shouting and roaring, but I love them all. Being a jockey is 95 per cent disappointment and I've had that but I'm ready for the next chapter”.

Brennan listed his close King George victory in 2015 over Vautour with Cue Card as the pinnacle of an incredible career in the saddle. He became close to the Colin Tizzard-trained chaser and won two Betfair Chases, the Aintree Bowl, and the Ascot Chase. However, the rider claimed that his fall during a strong run in the 2016 Gold Cup left him "haunted." 

O'Brien, who has now trained over 850 winners, said: “What a way to do it and this is what he deserves. I've never made a secret about what he does, he'll be a huge loss, but that's not the end of Paddy Brennan and Fergal O'Brien. It could be the start of something else. Fingers crossed, we can keep going forward. Manothepeople – it's very apt for Paddy. It was important to do it here”.

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