Amateur Nichol bows out on a high and eyes funeral director switch
Jockeys are often much more switched on about life after they retire these days and while many choose to remain in the sport, plenty of others have found success and fulfilment in another career, which is what amateur Ryan Nichol will be hoping for following his decision to join a funeral director firm.
Nichol, the older brother of 2015-16 champion conditional Craig, signed off in style after partnering the Alistair Whillans-trained Donnachies Girl to victory in the amateur riders' handicap at Hamilton on Thursday evening.
Wilson Renwick swapped four legs for two wheels to become a cyclist, Mark Bradburne is now an electrician and Alan Daly a fireman. Richard Killoran and Charlie Huxley ditched their silks for suits as an investment consultant and mortgage adviser, while James Millman has recently completed a law degree.
Nichol, who has ridden a handful of winners under rules, will not be the first rider to make the move as he will be employed by former jump jockey Paul Robson, who was forced to retire through injury in 2005.
"That's it now," said Nichol, 25. "I've been offered a job with a funeral director, so it's a bit of a change and I suppose everything comes to an end.
"It's a little bit different, but I did a bit last summer and it's all right. I'm getting older and have to move on and see what happens.
"Paul used to ride for Nicky Richards and was a very good jockey in his day, but injuries set him back. I'm going to work for him now and it'll be back in Hawick, which will be a big help back home with the parents and family.
"Paul gave me the option to carry on riding, but I thought once that's it, it's it. There's no point shooting up in weight and battling for the odd point-to-point ride.
"I did have a good year point-to-pointing and under rules, so it's a good point to go out and I'm very grateful to Alistair."
'It worked out'
Nichol, who plans to continue riding out in the mornings, was delighted to have bowed out with a winner on Donnachies Girl, who was making it two from two at Hamilton.
"It was the complete opposite to what I was told to do on her, but luckily it worked out," he added on Racing UK. "She got there like she was doing a bit of work, so I gave her a squeeze and Kevin Ryan's horse was coming, but mine was never going to be headed. She was always pricking her ears."