Jimmy Quinn, 55, is Britain’s oldest professional jockey and he enjoyed a day to remember at Newmarket today when he partnered Lethal Levi (16-1) to victory in the £100,000 Bet Boost At bet365 Handicap (6f).
The three year old Lethal Force gelding went into a clear lead after the first furlong and was never in any real danger of being caught thereafter in the 19-runner contest as he kept finding more and more for Quinn. At the finish, he had a length and a half to spare over runner-up Admiral D (20-1).
In years gone by Quinn, who rode his first winner in 1985 and has over 1,300 successes to his name, was among the very busiest jockeys in Britain. In 2002 for example, he clocked up a remarkable 1,108 rides. While life may be slightly more sedate nowadays, the Cheveley-based jockey revealed after today’s success that he has no immediate plans to hang up his boots.
Jimmy Quinn said: “This is my 38th season with a licence. It was 1985 that I had my first winner and I can see it in a photograph at home. You don’t get these winners when you get to my age. Somebody said to me when are you going to retire and I said Saturday, I don’t know which Saturday but I can promise you it won’t be this Saturday!
“It was fairly straightforward. Karl gave me plenty of confidence and Clifford Lee, who has been riding him, gave me plenty of confidence. I was a little bit worried I had stall 14 but I made myself go to the middle of the track. He popped the lids not very good as he was rocking in there, so he didn’t hit them on an even keel. It took me about a furlong to get my foot in the iron properly.
“From halfway I’m thinking I’ve got a lot of horse here. I gave him a squeeze past the three and he has just ran on all the way to the line. I don’t know what the time was like. He has been carrying a lot of weight in lesser races and he is only a small handy horse. I’ve never ridden him before and I will probably never ride him again but he has done everything right for me today. I’ve got a lot of friends in there (weighing room). I’ve been around a while and it is nice to have a winner on television and it is nice to have a winner here.”
Winning rider Karl Burke added: “I was thinking of stepping this horse up to seven but I thought it was too good a prize not to have a go at. I thought my other horse (Aasser, who finished eighth) had the better chance if I’m truthful.
“I’ve known Jimmy a long time. He texted me at the entry stage. I had two out of the weights and him low in the weights and he said don’t forget me! I nearly did and put someone else on but Jimmy has given him a great ride.
“This horse is on an upward curve. They travelled down last night and I went over to the stables this morning and took the rugs off all of them including him and I said to the lads he looks fantastic.
“He never runs a bad race and that was probably a career best for him. Jimmy said he was travelling so I don’t know if it was rope they were giving him or if they couldn’t travel with him. I don’t think it was any fluke anyway. I’d say the handicapper won’t be too kind with him today but we will see what he does. He probably deserves an easy week. We will possibly step him up to seven next time.”
Jockey Barry McHugh said of the second Admiral D: “It was a great run and I was just a bit out of my ground early.
“He sort of warms up to the race but I think if it comes up a deluge somewhere he’s a very good horse.”