Veteran jockey Peter Robl has announced his retirement from race riding after specialists ruled that he would be unable to fully recover from the injuries he suffered in a race fall at Scone in January.
Robl was thrown from his mount In My Image when riding in the opening race at Scone on January 16 and was flown immediately to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle with suspected spinal issues.
The popular hoop lost feeling in both his legs and arms, but was cleared of any serious fractures, although he was advised by doctors that any further riding accident could leave him as a quadriplegic.
Robl told TVN yesterday that specialists had ruled it would be far too dangerous for him to return to riding, but said that he would not require any further operations at this stage.
“I don’t need an operation at the moment because my neck is stable, but I’ve still got pins and needles in my hands and feet, they may improve or they may not,” Robl said.
“I’ve been expecting this news, I knew it was pretty much over but it is still hard to be finally told it is finished.
“If I risk it and come back I could end up in a nursing home.
“I’m lucky I can still walk around.”
Robl started his career as a jockey in 1988 and throughout his career stamped himself as one of the most popular hoops in Australia with his care free and no nonsense attitude.
He spent the majority of his career riding in provincial venues right around Australia, but set up shop in Sydney full-time in 2007 at the urgings of veteran trainer Clarry Connors and went on to have plenty of success at the highest level of racing.
Robl scored his maiden win at Group 1 level with Dealer Principal in the 2008 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and won the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) in Sydney the following year with Onemorenomore before claiming the Group 1 T.J. Smith (1600m) with Linky Dink during the 2009 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
The veteran jockey was suspended for twelve months in 2010 for having bets or interests in bets on thoroughbred racing, but he returned to the saddle at the end of 2011 and scored another win at the highest level of racing when he partnered Your Song in his dominant six lengths romp in the 2013 Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m).
Robl has worked alongside trainers Wendy Walter and David Vandyke in recent months and will contemplate a career as an assistant trainer when he returns from a holiday to Las Vegas with Blake Shinn next week.