Jockey Dougie Costello on life on the road and early retirement

Jockey Dougie Costello on life on the road and early retirement

THERE has been a lot of talk about Jamie Spencer’s retirement this week.

Jamie is only 34, which is pretty young in the context of Flat Racing but he has been riding at the top level for nearly 20 years and has been crowned champion jockey in Ireland and Britain through his career.

He has his critics but I always respected his style, trying to switch a horse off and allow it to settle into a race. To me this is a pure approach and when it works you get great credit. When it doesn’t you get great criticism.

I like the “get them there late” approach because if the horse can’t get there late, then to me they are not good enough to win and you are only diminishing their future races.

This is a debate as divisive as Spencer’s career but, at 34, he says he is just not getting the buzz from it anymore. He also says that he is missing out on his children growing up and having been away from my family for five nights last week, I know that feeling.

And trainer John Quinn knows the winning feeling after returning his first ever Group One success when Wow Signal stayed on to win at Deauville on Sunday.

In doing so the Tipperary native joins a very short list of trainers to have saddled a top-flight winner in the Flat and over Jumps alongside stellar names like Aidan O’Brien and Sir Michael Stoute.

I know this has been an ambition of Mr Quinn’s for a long time. It is a brilliant success both for him and for the yard.

I didn’t return a winner last week but I had some nice rides for William Muir and one, Burauq, opened up a conversation with the horse’s owner whose mounts feature prominently in Hong Kong.

It has always been an ambition of mine to ride there one day. Jockeys who race in Happy Valley are the superstars of sports in the city and are treated like David Beckham.

Now that would be something.