Have you heard the name Jorge Ricardo? If not, here’s why he should be on your radar…
Jorge is Brazil’s answer to AP McCoy — although, yes, he’s a Flat jockey. Having ridden nearly 13,000 winners during his prosperous career, it makes him the world’s most successful jockey. To put things in perspective, AP rode 4,358 wins during his career which saw him become the 20-time jump champion in the UK.
“It is a dream and a goal fulfilled,” says Jorge of his achievement when speaking on CNN’s Winning Post. “I’ve wanted the world record for many years. I held it twice (in 2009 and 2013) but due to illness and injury I lost it. Well, now I’ve won it back again. For me it is true happiness and the truth is, I feel very complete.
“I believe that in every activity and in every sport there are always sacrifices. Whether it’s going to bed early, not being able to go out, or share something with someone. But I am very happy and I don’t regret all the little sacrifices I may have had to make.”
At 56, you may be forgiven for thinking the Brazilian is nearing retirement, however, he shows no signs of slowing down.
Jorge started as a 15-year-old apprentice jockey and took advice from his father, Antonio, who was also a jockey. He went on to ride a total of 12,845 winners — the most any jockey has ever ridden, having spent 15,000 days in the saddle.
He has overcome obstacles to get there, however, including a bout of cancer and broken bones.
“It never crossed my mind not to ride again. Both when I had the illness and the accident, I always had a positive attitude and I knew that I was going to run again,” he adds. “I think that for any type of athlete it is very difficult to leave a profession when you have a passion and love for it. I know I don’t have many years left but the idea is to get at least a couple more victories under my belt.”
Jorge has won his continent’s richest race, the Longines Gran Premio Latinoamericano, a record five times — a feat no other jockey has achieved on more than three occasions.
“It’s not easy to win five Latinos because there’s only one race per year and often you don’t have a chance to participate,” he says. “To have had the luck to win the race five times against all of the best horses in South America is perhaps the biggest achievement of my career.”
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