Star-struck Kinane calls it a day

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

The 50-year-old bows out on a high after a truly memorable 2009 which saw him partner wonder horse Sea The Stars to six Group One wins, including an unprecedented 2000 Guineas-Derby-Arc treble.

In a statement, Kinane said: “I have decided this is the right time to retire from race-riding.

“At 50 I still feel fit and sharp enough to do any horse justice but, after the season I have just had in partnership with Sea The Stars, I have the privilege of being able to end my career as a jockey on an incredible high and that’s what I want to do.

“I leave with a huge sense of gratitude to all the great horses I have ridden, 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.

“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.”

Kinane hangs up his riding boots with nearly 1,500 winners to his credit and a string of victories across the world, with the list of great horses he rode almost endless.

He broke new ground when winning the Belmont Stakes in America for Dermot Weld on Go And Go in 1990, as well as the Melbourne Cup on the same trainer’s Vintage Crop in 1993.

Montjeu was a magnificent winner of the Arc in 1999 and arguably even better in the following year’s King George, while Galileo and Commander In Chief also won the Derby.

Yeats also got in on the Kinane act when he won the Gold Cup in 2007.

But the best was definitely to come in the autumn of his career as Kinane enjoyed that glorious last hurrah with John Oxx’s brilliant colt Sea The Stars.

As well as the Guineas and Derby, the duo also teamed up in the Eclipse, the International Stakes and the Irish Champion before topping off an invincible run with that supreme display in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp.

Kinane pointed to success on the Henry Cecil-trained Commander In Chief in 1993 as a significant moment.

He got the leg-up at Epsom on the Khalid Abdullah-owned colt with Pat Eddery on the owner’s supposed first string Tenby. The pair beat Jim Bolger’s Blue Judge by three and a half lengths, with the odds-on Tenby only 10th of the 16 runners.

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

“My Derby-Oaks double on Galileo and Imagine was also very special.

“Dermot Weld is a great man for breaking new ground so the Belmont and Melbourne Cup were both great achievements.

“I will just be a small-time farmer from next week. I have no great plans so am going to spend some time with my wife and family and take stock.”

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