Wayne Hutchinson has announced his retirement from the saddle with immediate effect after a highly-successful 21-year career.
The number one rider at Alan King’s Barbury Castle stables felt the time was right to call it a day on his terms.
Hutchinson’s last winner was on Scarlet Dragon, in a Listed handicap hurdle at Market Rasen on September 28, on his return from a hand injury.
“It just seems the right time,” he told www.alankingracing.co.uk.
Hutchinson’s first of 11 winners came on the Flat in 1998 and he opened his account over jumps the following year.
The 38-year-old went on to amass more than 800 winners in that sphere, most of which were for King.
“I missed a couple of months in the summer when breaking a bone in my hand schooling, but I won on Scarlet Dragon on my first ride back at Market Rasen, and, as it happens, that Listed winner was my final one,” said Hutchinson.
“It’s great that I am going out on my own terms. I have been very lucky, riding some very good horses and meeting some great people, but, though I am fit and well and could ride again tomorrow, I think the time is right to look towards the next chapter in my life.
“Alan made my career, and he has been very supportive and stuck with me through thick and thin. He has been so loyal and shown a huge amount of faith in me.
“It was only 10 days ago that I made up my mind and I sat down with Alan and told him straight away. It came as a bit of a bombshell to him, but he understood and he told me to sleep on it for a week before making it public.
“However, I am standing by my decision. I have already spoken with the JETS (Jockeys Employment Training Scheme) team, but, while racing has been my life and has given me so much joy and pleasure that I’d love to be able to put something back into the sport, equally I am not closing doors outside racing when it come to deciding on my next chapter.”
Hutchinson joined King’s team in the summer of 2002 and was understudy to Robert Thornton before being promoted to stable jockey on his retirement in 2015.
His best ever score was 88 winners during the last campaign, which he ended on a high with victory on Talkischeap for King on the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in April.
Among his other big-race wins were Halcon Genelardais (2006 Coral Welsh National), Grumeti (2012 Triumph Hurdle), L’Unique (2013 Aintree 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle), Godsmejudge (2013 Scottish National), Balder Succes (2015 Betfair Ascot Chase) and Smad Place (2015 Hennessy Gold Cup).
King said: “It was a big shock when he told me, but he is convinced it’s the right decision and you’ve got to respect that.
“We’ve had some great days together. Smad Place winning the Hennessy was very good, but I suppose the day that sticks out for me, because of my Scottish routes, was winning the Scottish National with Godsmejudge – I got a real kick out of that.
“Then there was Talkischeap last season and the Cheltenham Festival winners – we’ve had a lot of success.”
Asked if had a succession plan in place, the Swindon-based trainer added: “I’d imagine Tom Cannon will come in for a good chunk of rides and Tom Bellamy will pick up a few more as well. I’ve been training for 19 years and I’ve only had two stable jockeys.
“Some of my owners have retained jockeys, with the McNeill Family having Adrian Heskin and Simon Munir and Isaac Souede having Daryl Jacob, so hopefully it will all work out.”