Michael Walker has retired from riding due to a brain injury. Kelly Defina / Getty Images
By Stuff sports reporters
Australian-based New Zealand jockey Michael Walker has been forced to hang up his saddle due to a life-changing injury.
Walker has been sidelined since last winter when he suffered a shocking fall at a jumpout trial meeting at Pakenham, on the outskirts of Melbourne, that has left him suffering from a brain injury.
Walker, who revealed on Wednesday that he is struggling with fatigue and memory issues on a regular basis, has ridden more than 2000 winners across New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore.
"I'll never be able to return to riding," Walker conceded to Racing.com on Wednesday.
"With the brain injury, it's just something that I'll never be able to do again."
Michael Walker rode 25 winners at Group 1 level. Mark Evans / Getty Images
The 39-year-old who was born in Rotorua, continues to concentrate on his recovery from his Melbourne home.
"Sometimes, I think that I'm getting better but obviously, I speak to my partner Lauren, we try to sit down to work out things, like I have to use a diary, there's heaps of little things I have to do to remember things," he told Racing.com.
"It's a day-to-day battle with the brain and also my back, because I broke my back as well, I still have to go to the physio every week. If I don't go to physio, it's like I could barely walk or pick the kids up.
"Everything that's happened with this last injury, it's just changed my life altogether,” Walker said.
His stellar career included three New Zealand Derby victories, multiple Melbourne Cup placings and two Australian Cups.
Walker started his career as an apprentice in New Zealand way back in 1999 and by the 1999/2000 season, still aged just 15, he was the pin up boy of New Zealand racing.
Apprenticed to Allan Sharrock, Walker won the jockeys premiership that season despite being an apprentice with an astonishing 131 winners.
Walker won 25 Group I victories, with 1144 of his more than 2000 wins coming on New Zealand soil.