Andrew Tinkler announced his immediate retirement from the saddle after riding in the concluding race at Fontwell on Wednesday.
Tinkler had just one ride on the seven-race card and there was plenty of market support for his mount in the Follow At The Races On Twitter Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race, with the George Baker-trained Diva Spirit a well-backed 11-4 chance.
Baker gave the game away beforehand, telling Sky cameras it would be Tinkler’s last ride.
And while there was to be no fairytale ending, with Diva Spirit having to make do with an honourable fourth, the jockey appeared completely at ease with the decision afterwards.
Tinkler told Sky Sports Racing: “It’s a decision we all have to make at some point. I’m very fortunate that I’ve got a thriving business in Warwickshire – producing point-to-pointers and young horses.
“It’s sad to go, but it’s a good time to go – I’m very positive about it really.
“My family are here. I’ve had a great time and thank you to everyone.”
Tinkler is best known for his long-term association with Nicky Henderson, for whom he rode several big-race winners.
His key victories for the Seven Barrows team included triumphs on Zaynar in the 2009 Coral Ascot Hurdle, subsequent Champion Chase winner Finian’s Rainbow in the 2011 Kingmaker Novices’ Chase and Call The Cops in the Pertemps Final at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival.
Tinkler also won the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster twice – aboard Henderson’s Wogan in 2010 and the Henry Daly-trained Quentin Collonges in 2013. The latter also went on to win the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown the following month under Tinkler.
“I’ve had plenty of winners and been given some nice opportunities along the way – and thankfully I’ve given a few back,” the jockey continued.
“I had some big winners that will be on the CV forever and I’m proud enough.
“I was with Nicky for years – a master trainer. He gave me some wonderful opportunities in Champion Hurdles and other good races.”
Asked what the highlights of his career were, he added: “I think Call The Cops in Cheltenham – my second Festival winner – and winning the bet365 Gold Cup.
“There was the Ascot Hurdle on Zaynar, too. I’ve had a good time and some big winners that stick in the memory and I’ve had a lot of fun along the way.”