Popular jump jockey Mattie Batchelor retires from the saddle

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Mattie Batchelor riding future Gold Cup winner Coneygree (R) clear to win at Cheltenham in 2012 (Image: Getty Images)
Mattie Batchelor riding future Gold Cup winner Coneygree (R) clear to win at Cheltenham in 2012 (Image: Getty Images)

Jump jockey Mattie Batchelor, one of the most popular figures of the weighing room, has announced his retirement.

Batchelor rode for nearly 30 years, enjoying Cheltenham Festival success on King Harald in 2005 and his biggest win on Carruthers in the 2011 Hennessy Gold Cup.

But in recent seasons he has ridden mostly on the Channel Island of Jersey and it is nearly three years since he last rode a winner in Britain. He had just 17 rides in the whole of the 2021-22 campaign, and none this season, as he acknowledged in his social media post.

“I know most people thought I had but just making it official.” he said “My last ride in August was a winner [in Jersey], thanks to Mark Quinlan and N P Mulholland for that.To everyone who made my dream became reality I’m eternally grateful.”

Batchelor explained: “My licence ran out in the beginning of December. It was nice to ride a winner in Jersey and I was going to try to get a ride around Plumpton and finish there because years ago they let me put some of my Mum’s ashes on the winning line because she loved it there.

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“That would have meant renewing my licence and my hip is playing me up as well so it’s time to wave the white flag.”

Because of many fond memories of his life as a jockey, Batchelor said it had been difficult finding the moment to call time on his career.

“I should have called it a day five years ago," he said. "I more or less kept my licence to ride in Jersey but it’s also so hard to let go of something you are really passionate about.

Through his association with Mark Bradstock, trainer of both King Harald and Carruthers, Brighton-born Batchelor, 46, rode Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Coneygree in his early races.

“I could say I rode a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, but not actually in the Gold Cup!” he said. “Carruthers was great for my career because he took me to days and races I would never have ridden in.

"I rode only one Festival winner but I could name a couple of jockeys that were a hell of a lot better than me that never rode a winner there.”

He hopes to stay involved in racing. “People tell me I have a face for radio!” he said. “I have a part- time job and I have been helping out a mate who does partition glazing but in a perfect world I would like to be working at the racecourses.

“I do a bit at Fontwell and Brighton but it would be nice to get some work in hospitality boxes where I can tell stories because I think it is something I might be good at!”

Jon Lees

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