‘I’m fortunate to go out on my own terms’ – Tom Scudamore in shock retirement

 

‘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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‘He’s a phenomenal man’ – jockeys on Tom Scudamore’s shock retirement.

As the weighing room reacted to Tom Scudamore’s shock retirement, jockeys hailed him as one of “the best around.”

After being disqualified at Leicester on Thursday, Scudamore announced on Friday that he had ended his 25-year riding career immediately after returning from a concussion absence caused by a fall at Chepstow two weeks earlier.

With 1,499 victories over jumps in Britain and Ireland and 12 on the Flat, the 40-year-old rider finished his career as the tenth most prolific jump jockey. He had also been David Pipe’s stable jockey since 2007 and had won 13 Grade 1 races, including the King George VI Chase on Thistlecrack in 2016.

Scudamore also won a big race for Jonjo O’Neill on Cloth Cap in the 2020 Ladbrokes Trophy (now the Coral Gold Cup), and the trainer’s son and jockey, Jonjo O’Neill Jr., paid tribute to his former colleague in the weighing room.

“He was a great friend of mine for the last few years and we go way back; he went to the same school as me in Cheltenham. He’s a phenomenal man, very funny and witty but also intelligent. Tactically, he was the best around,” he said.

“He rode some great winners for dad, Sky Pirate at Cheltenham, Cloth Cap at Newbury and Soaring Glory at Ascot. He’s done very well for us and he’s going to be massively missed. He was one of the good guys.”

Fellow jockey Harry Skelton said: “He had a very successful career and was a great competitor who was always tough to beat. I never had a cross word with him and he’s a good guy all round.

“I didn’t see it coming but only he knows when enough is enough and he obviously thought that. I wish him all the best in the future.”

Additionally, Gavin Sheehan acknowledged that retirement had come as a significant surprise to him and other jockeys.

“I found it a massive shock as I thought he definitely had another three or four years in him,” he said. “He’s very fit and confident and was riding as good as ever. He probably just didn’t have the ammo this season.

“My earlier memories of him were he’d definitely keep you in line. He was very professional and great to ride against. He wouldn’t give you an inch, but you wouldn’t ask for one.

“He was tough to ride against as he was always there when push came to shove. It’s sad seeing him go and we’ll miss having him around as he always had a good story to tell.”

Scudamore also won the 2014 Arkle with Western Warhorse and the 2015 Champion Bumper with Moon Racer, two of ten Cheltenham Festival winners for him. His last festival success came in the 2017 Ultima Handicap Chase with Un Temps Pour Tout.

He also won the Scottish Grand National in 2021 on Mighty Thunder for Lucinda Russell and her partner Peter Scudamore, Tom’s father and an eight-time champion jockey, and the Grand Annual in 2015 on Next Sensation for Michael, his brother.

One of Scudamore’s 56 winners from 348 rides this season was a Grade 2 victory on Rock My Way at Cheltenham’s trials day card last month.

 

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