Jockey Steven King has confirmed his retirement from race riding after a stellar career highlighted by the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cups double on Let’s Elope.
King has not ridden competitively since December but still rides quality horseflesh for five-time Melbourne Cup-winning owner Lloyd Williams each morning at Macedon Lodge.
At some stage King sees himself training, not immediately, but soon enough to be thinking about applying for a licence.
In the meantime he is content in his role with Williams.
“I’m up here with Lloyd in a transition phase,” King said.
“I’m giving myself the chance to have some thinking time while at the same time doing something that I love doing.
“I’m riding quality horses which are targeting the main races which is really exciting.”
Throughout his career King had a knack of getting on a good horse.
Right from his early days when he teamed in 1991 with the Bart Cummings-trained Let’s Elope through to his most recent, I Am A Star who went close to winning the Thousand Guineas last spring, King always had a Group horse in the wings.
Let’s Elope, King says, was an obvious highlight, but he won countless feature races, including the 2003 Cox Plate on Fields Of Omagh, and got to ride three-time Melbourne Cup winner Maybe Diva to two Group Two victories.
One regret was missing the 1992 Australian Cup on Let’s Elope when he was suspended.
The King name won’t be lost to racing with his son Lachie making his name in the riding ranks.
King keeps a close watch and with Lachie’s master Gerald Egan the pair has so far kept the apprentice to riding on the bush circuit.
Near the end of the year King expects his son to be ready to come to town.
“He’s going really good but he’s still got a long way to go yet,” King said.
“He’s doing everything right and listening to advice.”
Lachie’s career may have hastened King’s retirement with the 47-year-old saying he didn’t want to get in his way.
He didn’t get to ride against Lachie in a race which he said, in hindsight, was probably a blessing.
“I think what would have happened I would have become a scarecrow,” King said.
“I wouldn’t be moving during the race. I’d be watching him too much.
“Maybe one day we’ll team up and I’ll train a winner for him.
“That would be a huge thrill.”