Group One-winning jockey Peter Mertens has confirmed his riding career is over but he won’t be completely lost to racing.
Mertens suffered a serious shoulder injury in a fall in December 2013 and had hoped to be able to compete again.
While he was recuperating, he turned his hand to pre-training and that will now be his focus with a view to eventually becoming a trainer.
“Prior to having my bad fall, about six months prior, I started setting the business up trying to wind down slightly as a jockey and pre-train at the same time,” Mertens told Melbourne radio RSN.
“But with the fall it sort of forced my hand to go into pre-training full time.
“I know in my own heart if I got back to riding I’d only be 80 per cent fit with my shoulder and wouldn’t be able to do myself justice.
“So I’m content in my decision to retire.”
Among his seven Group One wins are the 2007 Mackinnon Stakes and Australian Cup on the Bart Cummings-trained Sirmione.
The 52-year-old has a 30-acre property near Geelong with 27 barns and a 1200m sand track and will be joined in the business by his son Zac.
One of his other sons, Beau, is carrying on the family tradition as one of Victoria’s leading apprentice riders.
Initially before I fell I was just going to pre-train,” Mertens said.
“I didn’t have any desire to train, but now that’s changed a bit and I’ll have to reassess.
“I think in six to 12 months I’ll probably take out a trainer’s licence.