‘I’m fortunate to go out on my own terms’ – Tom Scudamore in shock retirement.
After 25 years in the saddle, one of the greatest jump jockeys of all time, Tom Scudamore, has announced his retirement.
The jockey made the decision on Thursday after Ya Know Yaseff, trained by David Pipe, a longtime ally of Scudamore, defeated him at Leicester.
Scudamore, 40, ended his illustrious career after suffering a concussion in a second fall two weeks earlier at Chepstow as a result of the incident. On Saturday, he was scheduled to ride four runners at Ascot.
“I’m going to be 41 in May and after getting that concussion a couple of weeks ago, I now don’t bounce like I did,” he said on Friday. “It was always important to me that I got to make the decision and I’ve been very fortunate that it was in my own hands. I had another fall yesterday and while I’d love to still bounce back like I was 20, that’s not the way it is.
“Very few people get to go out on their own terms, whether it’s through injury or getting the sack, so I’ve been very fortunate. My grandfather had to retire through a bad fall, so it was always clear to me that you wouldn’t always get the choice of where and when you stop riding.
“It was always drummed into us that you’ll know when the moment is and once you’ve made that decision it’s settled. For me, that time came yesterday.”
With 1,499 victories over jumps in Britain and Ireland and 12 on the Flat, Scudamore finished his career as the tenth most prolific jump jockey of all time.
His record included 13 top-level victories, one of which was notable success with the Thistlecrack-trained Scudamore, who carried Scudamore to victory in the 2016 King George as one of five Grade 1 victories the partnership enjoyed. Thistlecrack was trained by Colin Tizzard.
“For 18 months Thistlecrack was the best horse in the country over hurdles or fences”, said Scudamore when speaking to the Racing Post’s YouTube show What A Shout. “There have been so many lovely horses I’ve ridden, too many to name, but Thistlecrack would be the most talented.”
He took over as David Pipe’s stable jockey in 2007 and won a lot of Cheltenham Festival races, winning Dynaste and Western Warhorse in 2014 alone.
He had a career-best 150 winners the following year, including a Champion Bumper victory with Moon Racer and a memorable Grand Annual victory with Next Sensation, trained by his brother Michael.
His tenth festival victory came in 2017 with Un Temps Pour Tout, who won the Ultima twice to give Scudamore a record-breaking fourth victory in the handicap chase.
Scudamore also worked with his father, eight-time champion jockey Peter Scudamore, to win the 2021 Scottish National with Mighty Thunder. This was a home victory for Scudamore’s stepmother, Lucinda Russell.
He said: “I’ve had so many big successes and I’ve been very thankful for all that people have done for me. I rode for the same people when I was claiming 7lb as I did when I retired – that’s what I’m most proud of. People have trusted me and I just hope I’ve done them proud and never let them down.
“I rode a festival winner for my brother, I rode a Scottish National winner for my father and step-mother, and I rode the best part of 1,000 winners for my best mate. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Scudamore finished his career on a high note with a Graded victory on Rock My Way on Trials Day at Cheltenham. In the days to come, he will look into other options besides racing.
“I’ll take stock for a little bit now,” he said. “David [Pipe] has already been asking if I can come and ride out at some point, plus I’ll make an appearance at Richard Hannon’s in the summer. I know nothing else other than riding horses, so I want to continue doing that, just not competitively.
“I’m still an ambassador for Coral and I’d like to do more on the media side of things, but I still want to stay involved in racing. In what capacity remains to be seen, but I’ve got plenty of things going on and I’ll remain as busy as I can.”
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