Tom Scudamore happy to retire on his terms.
After shocking the racing community by announcing his immediate retirement from riding on Friday morning, Tom Scudamore is now looking ahead.
Over the course of his 25-year career as a jockey, the 40-year-old partnered more than 1,500 winners. He leaves with 10 Cheltenham Festival winners, led by Thistlecrack’s victory in the World Hurdle in 2016.
Scudamore rode his last race on Thursday at Leicester. After losing to Ya Know Yaseff, he decided that now was the right time, even though he wants to stay in the sport.
He said: “I’ve had a fantastic time and all good things must come to end and unfortunately my time has come. Time waits for no man and I don’t see it as retirement, just a job change.
“I’m going to take stock, but I’ve got options to work in the media, I’m going to continue being an ambassador in my relationship with Coral and I’d like to stay involved in some way, shape or form.
“I’ve built a lot of good relationships in racing and I’d like to use those to best effect. I’ve got lots of options and lots of things in the pipeline, I’ve got plenty to look forward to.”
The rider comes from a racing dynasty. His grandfather Michael rode Oxo to victory in the 1959 Grand National, and his father Peter was an eight-time champion jockey over jumps. Michael, his brother, is a successful trainer as well.
Scudamore rode his first winner in 1998, and in the 2014–15 season, when he partnered 150 winners, he achieved his best seasonal total.
He also had a long relationship with the David Pipe yard, following in Martin Pipe’s father’s footsteps as a stable jockey.
When asked if he might consider joining his brother in a training career, Scudamore replied: “That is an option. Michael is doing a fantastic job on his own, whether that’s with Michael or with David, I will always be there and helping out in some way. Whether that is with owners or schooling or buying horses for them, I will be involved everywhere.
“I will just let the dust settle and see where we are. I want to stay involved somehow.”
Thistlecrack would be the most well-known winner of Scudamore because he followed up his victory in the 2016 Festival with a well-known victory in the King George VI Chase later that same year.
Scudamore doesn’t want to name a favourite horse, but he thinks he owes a lot to the Pipe-trained Lough Derg, who helped him win a lot of big races, like the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in 2007.
“Thistlecrack was fantastic, he would have been the most talented horse I got to ride and I got to ride some lovely horses,” said Scudamore.
“If it wasn’t for Lough Derg, he got me going on the big scale and every jockey needs that horse for a Saturday. If it wasn’t for Lough Derg, none of the other things would have taken place.
“I owe him an awful lot and he gave me so many great days. It would be wrong to single out a particular horse or anything, but if wasn’t for him none of the others would have been possible.”
Scudamore won the Coral Gold Trophy for a record-breaking three times, and despite his fondness for Newbury, he cites Next Sensation’s Grand Annual victory for his brother as a particularly memorable victory.
He said: “Winning the Coral Gold Trophy three times was a huge buzz, winning the big races round Newbury because it is my favourite course to ride around. Winning the World Hurdle and King George was great, but the one that gave me most pleasure was the Festival winner for my brother and family. That did give me a lot of joy.”
Scudamore is looking forward to enjoying the Cheltenham Festival this year from the other side of the rails, despite the fact that he will not be occupying his usual spot in the weighing room.
He added: “I will be there every day in some capacity or other, I’m looking forward to it. We’re all fans of racing and I can watch with a more open mind again now.”
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