AFTER almost 40 years in the saddle, the senior rider of the weigh-room Kevin Manning announced his retirement after riding Vocal Studies to victory in the colours of his boss and father-in-law Jim Bolger at Galway on Monday.
Jim Bolger led the tributes to his jockey after one of the longest standing partnerships in racing has come to an end.
Having first teamed up in 1982, Manning succeeded Christy Roche as Bolger’s number one pilot in 1993.
“He has been a top jockey for the past 40 years and has given great service to me and my family,” said Bolger.
“He rode a lot of good horses and gave us some great days. He has had a great career and I’ve no doubt he will be very happy with him himself.
“In the pantheon of jockeys, he is right up there with the very best. I had the satisfaction of knowing that he was never beaten on one that he should have won on. He rarely made mistakes and and that is very important.”
Bolger’s daughter and Manning’s wife, Una, said: “Kevin said to me the other day ‘maybe I’ll finish up this year’.
“It is good to have him out in one piece as he had a bad fall here last year when he broke his collarbone. It had to be pinned so it was nasty, but it hasn’t given him trouble since.
“He has had to do light weights through the years, before the weights increased in recent times, and is 40 years doing it. He won’t be stepping on the scales every morning, but he never really spoke about it or complained.”
She added: “I suppose Trading Leather winning the Irish Derby was a highlight for me as it was owned, bred and trained by the family and all his and our families were there on the day. It was a huge day. He will find plenty to keep himself busy.”
Former champion National Hunt jockey Davy Russell was also asked to pay tribute on Racing TV on Monday and said: “A great man to have in the weighing room, you could ask Kevin anything.
“We used to have mixed meetings and Kevin was always a quiet, hardworking man, we all looked up to him because that’s what you needed to get to if you wanted to be successful.
“He was great for all the young lads. If you wanted to see how it was done right, you watched Kevin Manning. He was the utmost professional and I learnt a lot from him.
“What he put his body through over the last couple of years was beyond most sportspeople, I’d like to delve into the hardship he had over the years.”
First winner: Keynes - Curragh, April 1983
Last winner: Vocal Studies, Galway, October 2022
St James’s Palace Stakes (Group 1) Poetic Flare (2021)
Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes (Group 1) Poetic Flare (2021)
Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes (Group 1) Mac Swiney (2020)
Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes (Group 1) Verbal Dexterity (2017)
Darley Yorkshire Oaks (Group 1) Pleascach (2015)
Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas (Group 1) Pleascach (2015)
Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Group 1) Trading Leather (2013)
St James’s Palace Stakes (Group 1) Dawn Approach (2013)
Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes (Group 1) Dawn Approach (2013)
Dubai Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1) Dawn Approach (2013)
Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes (Group 1) Dawn Approach (2012)
Criterium International (Group 1) Loch Garman (2012)
Dubai Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1) Parish Hall (2011)
Darley Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1) Intense Focus (2008)
Emirates Airline Champion Stakes (Group 1) New Approach (2008)
Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes (Group 1) New Approach (2008)
Vodafone Derby (Group 1) New Approach (2008)
Darley Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1) New Approach (2007)
Bank Of Scotland (Ire) National Stakes (Group 1) New Approach (2007)
Independent Waterford Wedgwood Phoenix Stakes (Group 1) Saoirse Abu (2007)
Moyglare Stud Stakes (Group 1) Saoirse Abu (2007)
Coolmore Fusaichi Pegasus Matron Stakes (Group 1) Lush Lashes (2008)
Darley Yorkshire Oaks (Group 1) Lush Lashes (2008)
Coronation Stakes (Group 1) Lush Lashes (2008)
Boylesports Irish 1,000 Guineas (Group 1) Finsceal Beo (2007)
Stan James 1000 Guineas Stakes (Group 1) Finsceal Beo (2007)
Prix Marcel Boussac Royal Barriere de Deauville (Group 1) Finsceal Beo (2006)
Darley Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1) Teofilo (2006)
Laing O’Rourke National Stakes (Group 1) Teofilo (2006)
Audi Pretty Polly Stakes (Group 1) Alexander Goldrun (2006)
Audi Pretty Polly Stakes (Group 1) Alexander Goldrun (2005)
Vodafone Nassau Stakes (Group 1) Alexander Goldrun (2005)
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup (Group 1) Alexander Goldrun (2004)
Prix de l’Opera Casino Barriere d’Enghien (Group 1) Alexander Goldrun (2004)
Darley Irish Oaks (Group 1) Margarula (2002)
Heinz 57 Phoenix Stakes (Group 1) Eva Luna (1994)
Brian Flanagan @BHDFlanagan
End of an era in Irish flat racing as 55-year-old Kevin Manning retires from race riding. Incredibly he rode his first winner 39 years ago. A time when Piggott and Eddery were in their prime. Stable jockey to Jim Bolger for just shy of 30 years too.
All the best Kevin Manning. From 1st winner with Keynes for Jim Bolger @curraghrace on April 23rd,1983 to Vocal Studies also for Jim Bolger today @Galway_Races. 8 Classic winners, 36 Group 1, and 1,700 winners worldwide.
Clare Manning @BoherguyStud
The end of an unbelievable career. Delighted to see him go out on a winner & more importantly in one piece. Very proud.
sheila lavery @sheilalavery
Just seen on T.V that Kevin Manning has announced his retirement. End of an era and what a gentleman.
Joe Gibney @joegibney15
Can’t think of a bad ride he ever gave a horse. Hope Kevin Manning has a fruitful retirement, much deserved.