Peslier says goodbye to racing: It is the time to say ‘stop’

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Peslier says goodbye to racing: It is the time to say ‘stop’

There was no final winning ride for the legendary Olivier Peslier however he was met with public support as he hung up his saddle for the final time Thursday at La Teste De Buch.

The 51-year-old is unanimously respected after a superb career that has seen him crowned French champion jockey four times, alongside a string of top-level successes all over the world.

Peslier has an impressive four victories in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on his CV, as well as a pair of British Classics after winning the Derby aboard High-Rise in 1998 and the 2000 Guineas with Cockney Rebel in 2007.

The rider is also inextricably associated with the brilliant Goldikova, who he rode in all of her starts and with whom he enjoyed 17 victories, including a famous Breeders’ Cup Mile hat-trick in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Peslier was booked to take two rides La Teste De Buch and partnered Thomas Fourcy’s Nasser Al Shahania in the Group Three Dormane Stakes, going off as the favourite but missing out when second to Damien De Watrigant’s Muraad.

Peslier’s final mount was intended to be Top Glory in the concluding Aquitaine Atlantique Handicap, but when that horse did not run, he picked up the ride on Julian Resimont’s Mana Sis instead.

The filly could not provide Peslier with a fairy-tale victory on his final ever ride and was tailed off, but the regard in which the rider is held was evident when he returned to the paddock after the race.

“There’s a lot of people here today and I’ve signed a lot of gifts, boots, helmets, goggles and whips for the fans,” he told Sky Sports Racing.

“Everybody has said congratulations, some people are very sad but it’s very exciting to see all the people; for me, it is gratitude to everybody for coming.

“Some people from the north of France, the west and east have come to watch my race and just say goodbye to Olivier.”

Speaking of the motivation behind his decision to retire, Peslier added: “The weight is very hard, when you wake up every morning and have to lose four pounds, it is hard and I need to have some horses to enjoy, if they are not going to be high class, then I’d prefer to stop – it is the time to say ‘stop’.”

Olivier Peslier to retire

Image: Olivier Peslier celebrating as he won the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot on Goldikova

Speaking of high-class horses, Peslier identified 1997 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe hero Peintre Celebre and Goldikova as his favourites and also said that he intends to continue riding away from the track after bowing out.

“The most special horse was in my first contract when I was 20 years old, just afterwards I won with Peintre Celebre – that was great,” he said.

“Goldikova, for sure, and in England of course everybody knows High-Rise, Harbinger, I’ve had a lot of success in England, also in Ireland and Japan.

“If I had to pick two horses, it would be Goldikova and Peintre Celebre.”

The rider went on to thank the racing public for the reception he has received, adding: “I just want to say thank you to everybody, and all the fans.

“Of course I will stay with the horses. I’ll still be riding in the mornings because I love the horses and it’s my job, it’s very exciting to prepare the horse for the future.”

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