Jockey Wilson Renwick has decided to swap saddles in what he has called ‘a Pendleton in reverse’ after announcing his retirement from racing on Monday (17 October).
The 36-year-old jump jockey revealed his hopes to become an elite cyclist this week, having suffered multiple injuries and nerve damage last year — he has been sidelined from race-riding since a bad fall at Market Rasen in May 2015.
“As well as the concussion, I broke a vertebra in my neck, my collarbone, my jawbone and a couple of ribs, and they’ve all healed,” Wilson told BBC Sport.
“But nerve damage in my left arm means some of the muscle has wasted away and I’ve lost power in it, which won’t come back, so that’s it.”
The Scottish rider is now attached to Italian cycling team Parentini and will be competing in endurance events.
Wilson’s dramatic career change is not dissimilar to the challenge achieved by Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton, who made the leap from cycling to racing in 2015. The gold medallist succeeded in her goal to ride in the Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March, where she finished fifth.
“I have no solid plans, but doing a Pendleton in reverse and becoming a professional cyclist is the dream,” he added.
“Victoria did brilliantly getting to Cheltenham, and going some way to trying to emulate what she did would be quite something.”
Wilson, who started his career as a jockey in 2000, rode for trainers such as Donald McCain, Micky Hammond, Howard Johnson, Peter Monteith and Lenny Lungo.
His career highlight was winning the Grade Two Premier Kelso Hurdle at the Scottish track aboard the Peter Niven-trained Clever Cookie in 2014.
He also built up a solid partnership with the Martin Todhunter-trained Presenting Junior, with whom he racked up seven wins.