Joe Tizzard announces retirement

  • Last Updated: March 21 2014, 20:44 GMT

Joe Tizzard has announced his immediate retirement from the saddle, believing it is "time to move on".

Joe Tizzard: Has announced his retirement
Joe Tizzard: Has announced his retirement

Tizzard, who sprang to fame in the late 1990s through his association with Paul Nicholls, had been scheduled to be in action at Newbury on Friday afternoon for two rides.

However, he decided in the morning he was not going to take up those mounts and called it a day.

The Grade One-winning rider, famed in recent seasons for his association with the top-class Cue Card, has had just 11 winners this season.

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The 34-year-old's last four Grade One wins all came via his father Colin's best ever horse, with Cue Card announcing his arrival on the big stage in the 2010 Champion Bumper.

Tizzard told Racing UK: "As a jockey I think you know when the time's up. I've had less and less rides over the last few seasons, and less winners.

"We've got two big operations at home, with the racing and the farming. I've done my time as a jockey, I've had a fabulous time of it, but it's time to move on.

"It's already sunk in for me and I'm happy with the decision I've made. Dad was fine. First of all he said he'd booked me for six rides over the weekend and would have to find somebody else, but he thinks I've made the right decision and he's now got to put up with me even more as I'll be on top of him at home.

"Right from a very young age I wanted to be a jockey and I owe a huge thank you to Paul Nicholls. He was the first person when I was 16 to come and offer me a job at Wincanton one night.

"He pushed me to turn professional, I never looked back and I rode hundreds of winners for him on some serious horses."

Last season Cue Card won the Betfair Ascot Chase in February and followed up in impressive fashion at the Cheltenham Festival in the Ryanair Chase.

Victorious in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November last year, he looked certain to win the King George on Boxing Day but Cue Card got tired close home and was then denied the chance to run in the Gold Cup by injury.

Tizzard went on: "Cue Card is only a young horse and he's got plenty of time left in him. It would have been lovely to have had him in the Gold Cup, but it wasn't to be.

"He was an absolute pleasure. I ride him a lot at home and I'm the only person to have ridden him on the racecourse. He was brilliant to me and kept me going.

"Every time I was having a bad patch, he would go and run a blinder and win something and everything was brilliant again.

"It's horses like him you're obviously going to miss riding, but he's still going to be a serious horse in my life. I'm still going to be very much part of him, I'm just not going to be the person on board on the racecourse."

Tizzard senior said: "He just decided this morning that he was going to stop. We've got a lot of horses in and that's his future. Everyone has been waiting for it for a long time and when you start thinking about stopping, you've just got to stop.

"If Cue Card had been going to Aintree I'm sure he wouldn't have stopped now, but he has. He'll be helping me and it's great he has finished in one piece."

Tizzard made his name as a young jockey for Nicholls, with Flagship Uberalles the first horse to really put him on the map.

He won the Arkle in 1999, followed up at Aintree and won the Tingle Creek the following season.

Nicholls said: "The news has caught me by surprise a bit. He rode a heap of winners for me and was champion conditional with an unbelievable amount of winners (91) that season.

"He's had a good career and is a great lad and a good friend.

"It got a bit difficult for him with us as we got bigger and bigger and a lot of the owners wanted the top jockeys on, but Joe was a real pro about it all.

"When he won the Ryanair last year on Cue Card I honestly think that was my personal highlight in racing, I was so pleased for him.

"The main thing is he's going out in one piece which is very important when you look at what happened to a few of the lads last week. In many ways I'm relieved he's chosen to go out now so that he is going out that way.

"Flagship Uberalles was a very special horse for both of us, he was my first Cheltenham winner so it was a special day.

"Joe has been a credit to himself his whole career."

Of his days at Ditcheat, Tizzard said: "He (Flagship Uberalles) was a fantastic horse. He was a fast two-miler and when he won the Arkle he was foot-perfect.

"There's too many horses to mention.

"I got the chance to ride See More Business and was third on him in a Gold Cup. Double Thriller, I was fourth in a Gold Cup on. My best ever season was my first season as a professional and I had 91 winners.

"I just got on the horses, steered them round and they won. It was as simple as that and they kept winning all season."

Father and son also teamed up to win the 2007 Feltham Novices' Chase with the popular Joe Lively and the Classic Chase at Warwick with Hey Big Spender in 2012. Another big win for Tizzard came on Richard Barber's Earthmover in the Foxhunter at Cheltenham in 1998.

Tony McCoy said: "He'll be sorely missed, he's had a very successful career."

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