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Jamie Spencer makes surprise retirement decision

Flat jockey Jamie Spencer shocked racing fans last week (21 August) by announcing he was to retire from race-riding.

The 34-year-old, who was champion Flat jockey in 2005 and 2007, is to take on a new role in the management team of Qatar racing.

Jamie rode his first Classic winner at just 17 years old — the Irish 1,000 Guineas — and has since won three more Classics.

He is currently retained rider for Qatar Racing, run by Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, although Italian jockey Andrea Atzeni has been confirmed as his replacement.

“This is a fantastic opportunity and, if I have learned anything in my riding career, it is that you should take such opportunities when they come along,” said Jamie in a statement.

As much as I love race riding, it is not something I want to do for the rest of my life and, while I am not necessarily ready to retire now, I feel at a stage when I am ready for a change. I really enjoy being part of the Qatar Racing team, working with Sheikh Fahad, David [Redvers, racing manager] and everyone in the team and so the opportunity to continue that and at the same time start the next chapter in my career appealed to me.

“This has been a big decision and not one I have taken lightly. My priority is my family and thinking of them and their future has played a key part in my decision. I feel I still have a lot to give to racing and not just as a jockey.”

Harry Bentley, 22, who is currently second jockey for Qatar Racing, was told last week (20 August) he would not be retained in the position. He is to be replaced by Oisin Murphy.

“Andrea and Oisin have impressed us greatly this season and we are delighted to agree terms with them to take effect from the start of 2015. Harry will continue to ride for us when the opportunities allow. We wish him continued luck and success,” said David Redvers.

“These things have a habit of working themselves out, and I have no doubt that this will be for the best in the long-run,” said Harry in his Racing UK column.

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