Popular jockey Jon Grisedale calls it a day

Kembla Grange-based jockey Jon Grisedale has decided to hang up his riding boots after more than 35 years in the saddle. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

Kembla Grange-based jockey Jon Grisedale has decided to hang up his riding boots after more than 35 years in the saddle. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

HORSE RACING

The jockey ranks have lost one of racing's good guys, Jon Grisedale, with the veteran rider finally stowing away his saddle for the last time after 35 years in the game.

The 50-year-old had been struggling to recover from a broken leg, suffered when a horse flipped on him in the Kembla enclosure in October last year.

Grisedale consulted several doctors and specialists as the bone struggled to heal before only last week electing to ditch any plans of a comeback.

"There was a hairline fracture in the leg and they didn't pick it up and I went back to work, threw myself on a horse and it snapped [three weeks later]," Grisedale told The Punt of the incident with Mick Tubman's Miss Cheeky Charli.

"It's just not healing properly. The doctor said it's healed enough for you to go back to work, but there's no guarantee it won't break again.

"I weighed things up and thought it's just not worth going on with.

"It took me a long time to make the decision. It's different [not riding], but I'm still doing a bit of trackwork. "I'm 50 now and it's time to think about other avenues so I'll be the assistant trainer to [wife] Donna."

Donna Grisedale is enjoying a career-best season with her small Kembla-based team and the now retired jockey plans to devote more time to working with the horses.

But he will fondly remember a career which started when he left school as a 14-year-old to take up an apprenticeship with Bede Horan at Rosehill which ultimately led to a couple of Kembla riding titles.

His motivation for pursuing a career as a jockey?

"Being small," Grisedale said. "I had never rode a horse in my life before I went to Bede Horan.

"I only ever had one boss and was an apprentice for six years because in those days you couldn't come out of your time until you were 21.

"When I was an apprentice he used to travel to the Western Districts a lot and it just started from there.

"I rode a lot of doubles and trebles when I was an apprentice and then I came to town.

"I didn't win a premiership in town because I kept running second to Darren [Beadman]."

He rides off into sunset with a Group 3 success to his name, kicking home Moville Peter to win the Tramway Handicap in 1991, as one of more than 1200 winners he had in his long career.

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