Group 1-winning jockey Steve Drowne to retire from the saddle
Group 1-winning jockey Steve Drowne has announced that he will retire from race-riding at the end of the year.
Drowne, whose career in the saddle has spanned four decades, won six Group 1s in his career, most recently with Jwala in the Nunthorpe Stakes in 2013.
Appearing on At The Races show Get In on Friday evening, the 45-year-old said: "I've had a good old innings and I wake up every morning with no aches and pains – in that sense I'm quite lucky.
"I had my first winner 27 years ago and been hard at it for 25 years or so, it's all-encompassing and you get a bit institutionalised. There was no one moment when I decided that would be that, but every year it's getting harder financially and it just seemed like the right time."
Elaborating on the difficulties faced by freelance riders, he said: "It's hard in the winter, there aren't as many rides going as there used to be, and you basically make your money in that two-or-three-month window in the summer."
The veteran rider said of his future beyond the saddle: "I'm not the sort of person who likes to sit around doing nothing. I want to get into a second career, whatever it may be, and leaving now I give myself the time time to do that."
He also said of his impending retirement: "I've not set a date, sometime around Christmas probably, but I definitely won't be riding come January 1."
Drowne rode his first winner, Sigwell's Gold, in September 1990 for Richard Holder. Queen's Logic provided him with his first Group 1 winner when landing the 2001 Cheveley Park Stakes. He reached 100 winners in a calendar year for the first time the following year, when he also won the Moyglare on Mail The Desert, and followed up with another century and Group 1 success - on Patavellian in the Prix De L'Abbaye – in 2003.
His career reached its height in the second half of the 2000s when he rode plenty of big-race winners including two further Group 1s, the 2005 Prix De L'Abbaye on Avonbridge and the 2007 July Cup on Sakhee's Secret. In the latter year he also recorded his third and final century.
He had a long-running association with Beckhampton trainer Roger Charlton, but has in recent seasons ridden most often for Charlie Hills.
Hills tweeted his tribute soon after the news was revealed: "@drownie1 has been a huge help and asset to me since I started training. We’ll miss having him on board on the track but hope we can still call on his invaluable advice and feedback on the gallops at home. #topman"
Drowne has also served as joint-president of the Professional Jockeys' Association for the last ten years. They released a tweet that said: "Wishing our Flat President @drownie1 a very happy retirement at the end of 2017. A fantastic career and great role model in and away from the racecourse, having devoted a lot of time and effort to the PJA. #goodluck #welldone"
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