Jockey Rod Quinn has called it a day and will hang up his saddle as a result of a niggling knee injury he sustained after slipping in the sauna almost five months ago.
Most of Quinn’s career was a battle with his weight and even though a large part of his life was spent in the sauna, he was still able to ride more than 2000 winners in a career that spanned almost forty years, reaching that milestone when he saluted on Persian Storm at Newcastle in April 2011.
Quinn kicked off his career when he rode at Brewarrina in country New South Wales and was lucky enough to win on Merlin Mustang on July 1 at Rosehill, not knowing that would be the last time he would throw his leg over on race day.
Quinn was due to ride at Wyong a few days after winning on Merlin Mustang, but as usual had to spend some time in the sauna where he slipped and twisted his knee.
“I rode Merlin Mustang to victory at Rosehill, and I was due to ride at Wyong a few days later and then go on holidays,” Quinn told The Daily Telegraph.
“I was in the sauna and as I’ve got out, I’ve slipped and twisted my knee, which was already sore.
“That forced me to stop riding, then one month out of the saddle became two months, two months became three months, and the next thing I know I was out four months.
Quinn weight ballooned to 60kgs and the fifty-three year old jockey knew the battle to get back to his riding weight would be too big a challenge.
“I’m up to 60kg, that’s the heaviest I’ve ever been, and although 60kg doesn’t sound a lot, I know what I have to do to get back down to my riding weight. It wasn’t going to happen” Quinn said.
“The other thing was I didn’t miss racing. I thought I’d miss it, but I didn’t. And the thought of trying to get the weight off, it was too much.”
During his career Quinn was closely associated with the powerful John Hawkes stable and the giant Ingham racing empire and had the good fortune to ride the mighty Lonhro on several occasions.
While Darren Beadman was aboard Lonhro for ten of his eleven Group 1 wins, Quinn said that the black flash was the best horse he had ridden and in his early days collected six wins from eight rides including the 2001 Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes, and the 2002 Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes and Hobartville Stakes.
“He was the perfect racehorse, he’d turn up to race-day and he’d be five lengths better than he was on the track,” Quinn said.
“Whatever you wanted him to do in a race he’d do it for you.”
Of Quinn’s nine Group 1 winners, he regards the win on Grand Zulu in the 2004 The BMW at Rosehill as his most memorable and his win on Stand To Gain for Chris Waller in the 2011 Group 1 Sydney Cup was also a special moment.
“I was overdue to win it because 17 years ago I was asked to ride Cross Swords,” Quinn said.
“Cross Swords only had 52.5kg and I probably could have made the weight but I would have needed to waste hard.
“As it was a two-mile race I told them I didn’t think I could do the horse justice.
“Cross Swords came out and won the Sydney Cup so that hurt a bit.
“To the pick up the ride on Stand To Gain on race morning, for Chris to be so confident the horse would run well, and then to come out and win the race was just great.”