Popular veteran jockey Neville Wilson has ridden in his last race
20 Sep 2012 | The title of Australia's oldest jockey has been passed on following the retirement of Neville Wilson.
The Camperdown resident last night officially succumbed to the injuries that have kept him out of the saddle since a fall at Geelong in March last year.
Wilson, who will celebrate his 66th birthday on 13 November, suffered back, shoulder and arm injuries in the fall and while he attempted a comeback a visit to Geelong-based specialist Greg Hetherington offered the realisation that he wouldn't make it back to the races.
“I went and saw the specialist yesterday and he's very happy with the neck and shoulders, but it's not 100 percent, which you need to be to ride in a race,” Wilson said.
“If the accident hadn't have happened it probably would have been about time for me to give it away anyway, but I would have liked to have gone out on my own terms.”
Wilson retires a winner of 2078 races, the last being Our Shanagolden at Terang on 21 March last year.
He had his first ride in 1962 and dominated western region jockeys' premierships for decades, but also enjoyed a stellar period in Melbourne during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
He once rode champion sprinting colt Zeditave and often filled in aboard Sydeston when first-choice rider Mick Dittman was unavailable. But it sprinting warrior Redelva with whom he was most closely associated, scoring three of his five Group 1 wins aboard the gelding.
They combined to win the Lightning Stakes in 1990 before claiming the William Reid Stakes and Futurity Stakes the following year.
“He's the best horse I've been associated with over a long period,” Wilson said on RSN. “I won 13 races on him, three Group 1s and the other 10 were Group 2s and Group 3. He was a fantastic horse for me and for my career.”
Wilson, who has five daughters and 12 grandchildren, was honoured with an Order of Australia Medal in 2009 and has the medal for Victoria's premier country jockey – the Neville Wilson Medal – named in his honour.