sport

Huxley retires from saddle

Cheltenham Festival winning jockey Charlie Huxley has decided to hang up his boots.

The 26-year-old, who won the four-mile National Hunt Chase on Old Benny in March 2008 as well as the Scottish Grand National on Iris de Balme a month later, feels it is the right time to change careers.

Huxley has been in racing since he was 16 and has spent most of his career as an amateur and a professional with Barbury Castle trainer Alan King. He has ridden 81 winners over jumps and three on the Flat.

"I made my decision late last week but I didn't want to let anyone know until I'd told Alan King and all the people I ride for," he said.

"It hasn't been an easy decision. I didn't realise how big a decision it was until I saw the tweets on Twitter last night.

"It's a decision that took me a long time to make, but I just felt I wasn't going forward in my career.

"I plan to work at home on my father's farm in Shropshire for the winter. It gives me we enough time to think about a small business I want to set up. I've all the time in the world to find the right thing, maybe in food and property.

"The highlights have to be winning the four-mile amateur race at Cheltenham on Old Benny and the Scottish National. I can't really split between the two.

They were both pretty special.

"When I was 16, I went over to Ireland and had a year and a half at Michael Hourigan's. Then I came back and rode point-to-pointing for Sheila Crow.

"Through Richard Burton, who was riding a lot for Sheila at the time, he got me a job at Alan Kings. It went from there really and I've been there about eight seasons.

"I can't remember what my last ride was. It just gradually went quieter and quieter. The be all and end all is I want to be successful. I felt I wasn't moving forward so I wasn't enjoying it.

"My only reservation about retiring is that I'm going to miss a lot of my friends. That's one thing all the lads say. I've been living in the Costwolds for six or seven years, so moving back to Shropshire, even though it's only an hour and a half away, it will be a big change for me."