Top Queensland jockey Shane Scriven has announced his retirement from riding after many years of winning the long running battle against his weight.

The premiership and Group one winning jockey has had a long history of overcoming adverse weight problems to get his career back on track but has finally decided to call it a day.

Shane Scriven

Group one winning jockey Shane Scriven has announced his retirement. Photo by: Taron Clarke

“The decision was inevitable,” Scriven said.

“Unless I am 100 per cent, it just doesn’t work. It was a pretty easy decision to make and I knew it was coming.”

Scriven has always been a fighter and has also had to overcome many stints on the sidelines through injury and suspension.

Every time the veteran jockey was due to make his return to the racetrack, he had to shed a huge number of excess kilos to ride at the high level of the weight scale.

“They’ve all been situations where I’ve returned from injury or suspensions.  When I retire it’ll be for life,” Scriven said.

“Had it not been for Scenic Shot I would have said `stuff it all’.

“But when it’s time to give it away I’ll be the one to make that decision, no-one else.”

But Scriven knew his body couldn’t endure the pain for ever but did a herculean job to get back riding over the Winter this year after spending almost ten months out of action because of the ‘stealing the whip’ episode at Ipswich in April last year.

Scriven was suspended for five months for stealing apprentice Ben Looker’s whip over the concluding stages at Ipswich and after initially receiving a five months ban, was reduced to three on appeal which saw Scriven go on to win his second Doomben Cup on Western Australian champ Scenic Shot.

But Scriven’s weight ballooned to 74 kilos while he was on the sidelines before getting it down to riding weight and attempting a third Doomben Cup on the Scenic Shot.

“I had six weeks off following the disqualification and then I started my own program to get my weight down,” Scriven said.

“I was 74 kilos and got my weight down to 64 kilos and the plan was to aim for the Magic Millions.”

After months of dieting and exercising, Scriven returned to the saddle to partner Scenic Shot in his Winter campaign and after finishing fourth in this year’s Group 1 $500,000 Kirks Doomben Cup  (2000m) at Doomben on May 19, the pair went on to finish second to Lights Of Heaven in the Group 2 $250,000 Al Basti Equiworld Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) at Eagle Farm on June 2.

Scriven’s last winner was on Cyclone Al for trainer Neville Peterson at Doomben on June 20 after riding a winner earlier in the day, Kiss And Wonder, for Eagle Farm trainer Kelly Schweida and rode for the last time at Rockhampton on June 23.

As well as steering Scenic Shot to two Doomben Cup victories, the pair also took out the 2009 Group 1 $750,000 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington and won two Group 1 races on Prince Salieri early in his illustrious career.

Scriven was the regular rider for Prince Salieri and took out the 1989 1600m Group 1 Castlemaine Stakes for two year olds, now the T J Smith, at Eagle Farm and the 1992 Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield.

And a notable highlight of his long career was the 2008 – 2009 Brisbane jockey’s premiership when the heavyweight jockey had to overcome his battle with weight and injury to ride fifty-one winners to secured the title.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.