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15 Feb 2018
Issue Number: Issue 636
Appleby hopes to do Godolphin proud by winning first Epsom Derby for royal blue silks
Forca Barza! Mickael keen to slay opponents with his Talismanic
De Sousa’s always chasing after the Silvestre lining
Group One hungry Lemartinel won’t go to work without lucky charm
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Drowne to hang up saddle


Leading jockey Steve Drowne has announced 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 Ones, most recently aboard Jwala in the Nunthorpe Stakes in 2013 and about 1400 races in total. Explaining his decision, the 45yo said: “I’ve had a good old innings and I wake up every morning with no aches and pains so, 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. “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 to do that. “I’ve not set a date, sometime around Christmas probably, but I definitely won’t be riding come 1 January.” Drowne rode his first winner, Sigwell’s Gold, in September 1990 for Richard Holder.

Queen’s Logic provided him with his first Group One 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 One success, 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 Ones, the 2005 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 said: “Drownie has been a huge help and asset to me. We’ll miss having him on board on track but hope we can still call on his invaluable advice and feedback on the gallops at home. He has been a top man to deal and work with.” Drowne has also served as joint president of the Professional Jockeys’ Association (PJA) for the last ten years. They released a statement that said: “We all wish our Flat President, Drownie, a very happy retirement at the end of 2017.

He has enjoyed a fantastic career and been a great role model in and away from the racecourse, having devoted a lot of time and effort to the PJA. “We wish him well, congratulate him on a great career and thank him for all the hard work he has performed in his role for us.”

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