One of the most accomplished jockeys in the history of regional horse racing has called time on his career, Greg Ryan telling SEN Track on Wednesday he's "99.9 per cent sure'' he's ridden in his last race.
Ryan, 55, is set to concentrate on working with his son Isaac at his burgeoning tree service business.
Ryan's absence from racing hasn't gone unnoticed in the past few months, his last race ride was at Mudgee on December 4 - he rode his last winner that day on Without Shame - and it was around then he decided retirement was the right move.
"It's taken me a long time to make my mind up,'' Ryan said.
"When I went to the races at Mudgee that day I had the intentions that I was going to retire. I couldn't imagine myself having another ride.
"I don't need a party, I'd rather retire quietly and get back to a quiet life."
Ryan didn't have his first race ride until he was 25 as he spent eight years as a mechanic before turning his hand to racing.
You can only imagine how good he is with an engine because at the end of his riding career he is second only to legendary country rival Robert Thompson for number of winners in Australia, with his final tally believed to be 4,035.
I don't need a party, I'd rather retire quietly and get back to a quiet life.Greg Ryan on his retirement from being a jockey
He broke the Australian record in 2001-02 when he rode 208 winners and a year later set a new mark of 216 which at the time was seen as an amazing feat.
He held that record until the 2005-06 season when Allan Robinson surpassed it.
The Dubbo based jockey revealed his last four cars had travelled well in excess of 500,000 kilometres each and driving so far and wide to attend race meetings bordered on dangerous. He said he won't miss that side of racing.
That dedication, though, won him 11 NSW Premierships and he was Australia's leading rider five times in a 30 year career.
"For the first couple of months I intentionally tried not to watch them, I'd be tempted to have another ride,'' he said.
"I'm pretty comfortable with retirement and the temptation is probably over to return. I have missed it for sure.
"Change is always difficult, there's always uncertainty when you change something in your life. I miss the racing, I miss the competition.
"I feel very well in myself and I have a pretty hassle free life at the moment which is pretty good. I'm only 63kg and that's probably about my optimum weight. I'm still physically active."
Back in September, Ryan gave punters nationwide something of a preview of his new career when he took to a tractor in an attempt to fix a problem with the track at a meeting in Narromine.
His work was to no avail but it brought to light Ryan's many talents behind the scenes so it's no surprise that he's putting them to use post racing.
While he misses the excitement of a horse race he said his son's business Ryan's Tree Service, which includes work pruning and tree removals, offers its share of thrills.
"We've gone from having a job here and there to being pretty busy,'' he said.
"I was struggling to ride and to help Issac. For the sake of a couple of years (in the saddle) I'm better putting my attention towards him and the tree business."
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