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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Sandra Mallon

Ted Walsh made own decision to retire and wasn't pushed out by RTE, sources reveal

Trainer Ted Walsh announced his retirement from RTE "on his own accord", sources have told us.

The popular pundit shocked his colleagues and fans when the 73-year-old revealed his decision to retire after 40 years on the final day of the 2023 Punchestown Festival.

Speculation was rife that Ted had been pushed out by the national broadcaster over his age – but a source said it was Ted’s decision to go.

An insider told us: "It was on his own accord, completely. Nobody knew he planned to do it. It was exactly the same as Ruby did."

READ MORE: Eamon Dunphy blasts RTE Sport saying anyone with a personality is 'out' after Ted Walsh retirement

It comes after former RTE pundit Eamon Dunphy claimed Ted will never be replaced – saying he believes the world of punditry was being "destroyed" by people who have no personality.

He told us: "I know Ted very well. I think he had a superb television presence with his knowledge, his personality, straight talking always. There will never be another Ted Walsh. He’s highly respected in the horse business, like all his family.

"He’s still training winners. He’s a marvellous man. One of the treasures of the country. He’d go mad if I called him a national treasure, but he really is.

"He’s a great judge of horses and his father was before that. His father was also a trainer.

"I think it is terribly sad. There is no reason at all.

"There is a lot of ageism around. Ted is brilliant and he will be badly missed by viewers."

Ted stunned his colleagues and viewers when he announced his retirement live on RTE on Saturday.

He said: "I got a great chance from RTE and I want to thank them very much for giving me the opportunity to comment on a sport that I love, filled with people that I admire, a lot of them are my friends.

"I must say the late Tim O'Connor was a great help to me. Got me in it. It's 40 years. It's a long time to be doing anything and I've enjoyed every day of it.

"We've a great producer now in Ryan McCann and a good head of sport in Declan McBennett. Ryan, I know I've dropped you in it here with this, but at the same time you'll understand.

"There comes a time in everyone's life when they call it a day. Ruby called it a day pulling up here, so did Katie (Walsh) and Nina (Carberry) and so did Puppy Power and so is Ted Walsh."

Walsh went on to thank his family, saying: "Before I go off the air completely, I want to thank my family as well too. They’ve been great supporters of mine through. I’ve enjoyed the success that Ruby and Katie have had, and Jennifer and Ted, and their involvement in it as well too. And one particular person, my partner for life, Helen, without her, I don’t know what I would have done. Thanks Helen.

"People at home may think it’s sudden, but I went to Cheltenham to ride Attitude Adjuster with the view that I might stop at Punchestown here the following April. And when I was walking back down the shoot, I said this is as good a time as any.

"Standing here with ye, and a great meeting here at Punchestown, a place I love, I’ve been coming here since 1961. My first time here, I came here with my dad and mam. There’s no better place, I’ll be coming here again."

He added to his colleagues Jane Mangan, Barry Geraghty and Lisa O'Neill: "I want to wish you all the best. I hope all of you that are working for RTE get as much kick out of it and get 40 years out of it. You'll all look a bit shooker in 40 years time. I've loved it and I had a great response.

"I got myself into hot water here and there, but that happens on live television. I've enjoyed it. It's a great sport, a great game. It's been good to all of you. It's been very good to me and everyone connected with it. I thank you all very much and thank RTE."


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