BACK at the track where he rode the first winner of his career in December 2001, Robbie Power announced that he would bring the curtain down on his distinguished and hugely successful career after riding Teahupoo in Friday’s Champion Hurdle.
Power signalled that he was set to bow out after partnering the Henry de Bromhead-trained Magic Daze to victory in the Grade B Pigsback.com Handicap Chase. Over 20 years on from that first winner, Power displayed all his dash, poise and skill with a masterful front-running effort aboard this mare who was bouncing back to form after an unplaced effort in last month’s Arkle at Cheltenham.
The Robcour-owned Magic Daze dominated this race at all stages and kept plenty in reserve for when it mattered as she fended off the effort of Mt Leinster over the last two fences to prevail by two and a quarter lengths.
This victory was the jockey’s second of the week and it came over 20 years after Younevertoldme, in the colours of Power’s mother Margaret and trained by Jessica Harrington, defeated the Ruby Walsh-ridden King’s Deal in a maiden hurdle in December 2001.
That success represented the start of a tremendous partnership between Power and Jessica Harrington which yielded many great moments. The likes of Jezki, Bostons Angel, Supasundae, Oscars Well and Our Duke provided one of Irish National Hunt racing’s most enduring partnerships with a host of big race triumphs.
Pride of pace must go to Sizing John. During a wondrous spell in 2017, that horse won the Irish Gold Cup, the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Punchestown Gold Cup.
After his victory aboard Magic Daze, Power singled out Sizing John as the highlight of a career which also took in a Grand National success aboard Silver Birch for the then unheralded Gordon Elliott back in 2007.
“I’ve had a fantastic career but the last few months have been hard work with injury. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it though and I’ve four more rides to come so hopefully I might make it another winner or two,” said the jockey.
“There have been so many highlights it’s hard to pick one out but Sizing John winning the Gold Cup here stands out. It was his third Gold Cup of the season and it was as good a race as I rode in.”
Magic Daze’s trainer Henry de Bromhead remarked: “It’s brilliant what he achieved over the years. He’s been such a great guy to work with and I’m delighted to see him going out on his own terms. He’s a great horseman, a brilliant rider and we’ve been very lucky to have some success with him. I’m so happy he won on this mare. He was brilliant on her and we’ll miss him.”
Jessica Harrington paid generous tribute to her long-time ally, saying: “We have had a long relationship together and he won’t be easy to replace. He’s been a brilliant rider and had a fantastic career. Robbie is unique because he can see a stride from one fence to the next.
“I sit and watch him through my glasses when he’s riding in a chase and he’s absolutely amazing. I can see by his body language how he is going to meet a fence 50 yards away from the obstacle. We’ve had a long and successful relationship with Barry Geraghty and Robert and these guys are very hard to replace. Barry Geraghtys and Robbie Powers don’t come along very often.
“Myself and Robert had some great days together but winning three Gold Cups with Sizing John was the highlight. I don’t think any horse will ever do it again. I’d love nothing more than Ashdale Bob to go and win the Grade 1 later today. That would be amazing,” she added.