Leading NZ rider calls time on career

Highly regarded New Zealand jockey Michael Coleman has announced his retirement after being injured when a horse reared up at the Rotorua trials.

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman Picture: Trish Dunell

One of New Zealand's long-term leading jockeys has retired from racing after injuries he suffered in a fall at the trials.

Michael Coleman broke a femur and suffered serious pelvic injuries when a horse reared over at the Rotorua trials on June 30 which required the jockey to be airlifted to hospital.

Coleman underwent surgery on his leg the following day with a pelvic operation a few days later.

He was discharged from hospital last week.

"I had a few aches and pains leading up to this and this was just the shove I needed to say it was over," Coleman told NZ Racing Desk.

"I've had a good career and have got nothing else to prove. I'm 51 now and by the time I complete the rehabilitation properly, I'll be 52.

"I haven't talked to the surgeon about being able to ride again, but I know it would be too hard on the body."

Coleman collected 39 Group One victories and experienced a wonderful strike-rate from the start of the new millennium, winning at least one race at the highest level event each season until this current term.

"I was lucky that I got to ride so many good horses and I got to ride for all the good trainers," Coleman said.

"I'd rate the New Zealand Derby on Xcellent as one of my biggest highlights and I also got to win a jockeys' competition in Australia and run third in two Melbourne Cups. I also rode winners in Malaysia.

"I've got no regrets."

Coleman was the seventh jockey to ride 2000 winners in New Zealand when successful on August Edition at Matamata in June 2017 and he took his record to 2131 wins when successful on Vainglory on June 20 at Pukekohe, the first northern race meeting following the COVID-19 lockdown.

"I'm going out on a winning note and that's something," Coleman said.


AAP