Former champion jockey David Walsh is to take up a full time role with New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing.
Walsh, who has ridden more winners in New Zealand than any other jockey, will next month begin working as the NZTR training and welfare officer for the South Island.
Walsh will be based in Christchurch and will also have responsibility for health and safety and licensing.
Part of his role will be to mentor and support apprentice jockeys and the promotion of careers in thoroughbred racing.
He will begin his new position in early June and will take over from Will Harnett, who has resigned from NZTR to take up employment outside the racing industry.
Walsh announced his retirement from race riding in January, after a stellar career that produced more than 2500 wins, two New Zealand premierships and wins in the Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup, Brisbane Cup and Adelaide Cup.
He became the most successful jockey in New Zealand in terms of wins when notching win No. 2360, in the Marlborough Cup, at Blenheim in 2014.
His host of Group I victories in New Zealand included a hat-trick of Telegraph wins at Trentham.
He also made a mark as a trainer, winning a Group I race with Zirna.
“I’m really looking forward to the [NZTR] job,” Walsh said. “I didn’t want to leave the industry and this has come along at the right time
“I’ve already been helping the young riders down here [in Canterbury] off and on for the last five or six years.”
Walsh is passionate about recruiting people into the racing industry. “We need to go out there, into the schools and pony clubs, to explain what a great industry this is to work in.
“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.”
NZTR Racing Operations Manager Tim Aldridge said the organisation was delighted to have secured somebody with Walsh’s background.
“He will be the ideal person to follow the good work done by Will Harnett,” Aldridge said.