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Sea The Stars jockey Mick Kinane announces retirement

Sea the Stars

Mick Kinane wins thrilling Arc aboard Sea The Stars

Veteran jockey Mick Kinane, 50, has announced his retirement, ending a 34-year career in the saddle.

He bows out on a high after a stunning 2009 saw him partner wonder horse Sea The Stars to six Group One wins.

His success with the John Oxx-trained colt included an unprecedented 2,000 Guineas-Derby-Arc treble.

Kinane said: "I feel fit and sharp enough to do any horse justice but I have the privilege of being able to end my career on an incredible high."

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Born in County Tipperary, Ireland, the son of a leading National Hunt jockey, Kinane won the 2,000 Guineas four times, the Epsom Derby three times, the Oaks twice and the St Leger once.

He also picked up 11 Irish Classic winners, and France's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe three times.

Henry Cecil, the trainer who provided him with his first Derby success in 1993 on Commander in Chief, said: "Michael Kinane, in my opinion, was a brilliant, top-class jockey, a gentleman and a great ambassador to racing.

"He rode quite a few Group One winners for me including the Derby. Thank you very much Michael. Racing will miss you."

Mick Kinane
Kinane signs off from racing after a stunning 2009 season

Kinane said he was leaving the sport "with a huge sense of gratitude to all the great horses I have ridden". And he paid tribute to "all the great trainers whose genius developed those champions and everybody else in racing, from the stable lads to the owners, who have made me deeply thankful for my involvement in the game."

He went on: "Teamwork is the key to success in racing and I have been blessed with some of the best alliances a jockey could have. The most important support of all throughout my career has, naturally, come from my wife, Catherine, along with my family and friends.

"Both Catherine and our two precious daughters, Sinead and Aisling, know how much they mean to me."

As well as riding hundreds of winners in Britain, Ireland and France, he also won the Melbourne Cup in 1993 with Vintage Crop and in the USA won three Breeders' Cup prizes. He picked up rides, and valuable winners, in some far-flung outposts including Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Slovakia, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

On Monday, Kinane was named jockey of the year at the 43rd Derby Awards, eight years after his previous victory, beating off competition from Ryan Moore, Richard Hills and Richard Hughes.

A champion apprentice in Ireland in 1978, Kinane had ridden his first winner aboard Muscari for boss Liam Browne at Leopardstown in 1975. He had 14 years as number one jockey to Dermot Weld from 1983 before he was retained by Aidan O'Brien from 1999 to 2003.

An Irish champion jockey on 13 occasions, he said his first Derby win had been a key moment in his career.

He got the leg-up at Epsom on the Khalid Abdullah-owned Commander In Chief with Pat Eddery on the owner's supposed first string Tenby, who started an odds-on favourite.


Kinane said: "Your first Epsom Derby success is very special so winning on Commander In Chief was a huge milestone."

That success in the showpiece summer classic was followed by Derby triumphs on Galileo in 2001, for O'Brien, before a third success earlier this year on the extraordinary Sea The Stars.

Pat Smullen, who succeeded Kinane as stable jockey to Weld, described his predecessor as "the greatest of them all".

Five-time Irish champions Smullen added: "Mick was such a great help to me when he moved on. He was not just a great rider but a great friend too."

Oxx said: "Michael was just the complete professional in every way. He had a great work ethic and he never let anybody down. Sea The Stars has been such a great landmark horse and it has been wonderful to have Michael there to ride him.

"The Arc is the one everyone will remember. There was so much at stake, no one wanted to see the horse fall at the last and get beaten, everyone wanted to see him finish up with a win and he was just so confident on the day.

"You couldn't have predicted it or planned it, but it has been great for him to have had the best horse he ever rode in the final year of his career. It's the sort of end that he deserves."

Another trainer, Mick Channon, said: "He's been an amazing jockey for as long as I can remember and he's a smashing chap as well. It's sad to lose someone like that, but what a great career he's had."

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see also
Sea The Stars 'an all-time great'
05 Oct 09 |  Horse Racing
Sea The Stars in historic Arc win
04 Oct 09 |  Horse Racing
Classic double for Sea The Stars
06 Jun 09 |  Horse Racing
Sea The Stars wins 2,000 Guineas
02 May 09 |  Horse Racing
Classy Yeats wins Goodwood Cup
03 Aug 06 |  Horse Racing
BBC racing coverage
09 Apr 11 |  Horse Racing

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