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News: John Reid: the time is right for me to walk away.

Byline: Steve Taylor.

JOHN REID, winner of four British Classics, including the 1992 Derby on Dr Devious, has retired,

The 46-year-old Ulsterman has brought down the curtain on a 28-year career that also included five Irish Classics,

topped by the 1987 Derby on Sir Harry Lewis.

His haul of worldwide Group 1 races stands at 48, including the 1988 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Tony Bin and a pair of King Georges on Ile de Bourbon (1978) and Swain (1997), the latter for Godolphin for whom he also partnered Fantastic Light to finish second to Montjeu last year.

Reid, one of the most consistent and reliable riders over three decades, said last night: "There is no doubt that being a jockey is a young man's game and I'm not that young anymore.

"Also, you've got to have the back-up of a big operation to give you a chance in the

major races, and I haven't got that.

"But, please, don't anyone think that I'm leaving the game with any kind of chip. When they gave out the luck, I was there with a big bowl and it was filled up.

"I've been thinking about it for some time and now I know the time is right for me to walk away. I haven't been pushed, I'm going on my own terms and, while I'd be lying if I said I won't miss it sometimes, I

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won't feel I've been deprived of a couple of extra years. I

always thought that I'd pack up when I was 45.

"I could have retired at the end of the season, but all that would have meant was two more cheques from Weatherbys and, while the money was always good, it was never my motivation for going out every day and doing the job.

"The big meetings were easy to get wound up for-I don't think there's a better feeling than going to Royal Ascot and knowing you've got a strong book of rides-but, when Monday comes and it's Bath or Warwick, you've got to be really motivated."

Reid knew retirement was approaching when he suffered a badly broken leg in a fall from Dower House at Kempton in April 1999.

He said: "Up until that point I'd been lucky with falls. I'd broken my collarbone when Whippet unseated me on Arc day in 1990 and, as a kid, I did a few ribs when one turned over with me at Warwick.

"But that Kempton fall came at the wrong time in my career and I still feel the injury now when I'm riding and it's cold.

"I was lucky enough to get a retainer to ride for Sheikh Maktoum last season, but it was unfortunate that none of that year's three-year-olds or two-year-olds were anything special and we parted.

"After that I knew it was

always going to be a struggle to get going again in the big league-and that's where I've been used to operating.

"The only reason I had for riding on was the German horse Boreal, who was a possible supplementary for the Arc. But we were brought down a couple of furlongs

after the start at Cologne on Sunday. We just clipped heels, it was unlucky and nine times out of ten I would have stayed up.

"As it was we hit the deck and I was lucky to walk away, but I've been stiff in my neck and back ever since and I don't think I want to take too many more bangs like that-and that's no way for a jockey to think.

"I would be cheating myself, and those who employed me, if I went through the motions for a couple more years. The game's been too good to me for me to let it down.

"I take my hat off to George [Duffield] and Pat [Eddery], but I've stayed a bit longer than Steve [Cauthen], Brent [Thomson] and Ray [Cochrane]. But no-one beats the clock.

"At 46 I am still young enough to start a new phase of my life. My wife, Joy, and my family are very happy with my decision and I'm looking forward to spending more time with them."

Reid, who was awarded the MBE in 1997, is president of the Jockeys' Association, whose executive manager Michael Caulfield said: "John was undoubtedly one of the most distinguished jockeys to have ridden in the last 25 years and a role model for younger riders.

"Not only was he an outstanding horseman but he was also an exemplary president of the Jockeys' Association.

"John is a modest and quiet man, but his contribution to the welfare and status of jockeys should not be underestimated. He is respected throughout the industry and I'm sure his experience and knowledge will be in demand now that he has decided to seek a new career.

"Everyone connected with the Jockeys' Association thanks him for his commitment to jockeys and wishes him and his family every success in the future."


John Reid and his wife, Joy, pictured at their Oxfordshire home yesterday; Michael Caulfield "An outstanding horseman"
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Sep 28, 2001
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