GOING IT ALONE: Kerrin McEvoy will pursue his career as a freelance rider. Picture: Getty ImagesKERRIN McEvoy has quit his position as full-time jockey for Godolphin, ending more than a decade of riding for one of the world’s most influential thoroughbred stables.
McEvoy stepped down yesterday after speaking to John Ferguson, an adviser to Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin racing empire.
His decision to chase freelance opportunities comes after a restructure of Godolphin’s racing activities in Europe, the US and, more recently, in Australia.
Godolphin no longer retains jockeys on a full-time basis and the uncontracted McEvoy said it was time to sever ties with a stable which lured him to Europe in 2003 as an understudy to champion jockey Frankie Dettori.
Since John O’Shea’s appointment as Godolphin’s Australian trainer in May, McEvoy has had to share the stable’s rides with outside jockeys, most notably Sydney premiership winner James McDonald.
McEvoy said O’Shea’s arrival at Crown Lodge had cut the number of rides he had been getting in the famous Godolphin royal blue.
‘‘In a nutshell, John O’Shea has been given the go-ahead to put on a jockey that he chooses,’’ he said.
‘‘Obviously there has been a shift in relation to the amount of rides I’ve been getting and the quality of rides.
‘‘I have been blessed to have been given this amazing opportunity to ride for Godolphin and Darley all over the world. It has been a life-changing experience.’’
A Melbourne Cup winner, McEvoy’s overseas wins for Sheikh Mohammed included the English St Leger and the UAE Derby.
McEvoy returned to Australia at the start of the 2008-2009 racing season to be the No.1 rider for Darley when Peter Snowden was at the helm.
Within weeks of his move, McEvoy was reunited with Godolphin’s English stable with spectacular results on Australian soil when he rode All The Good to win the Caulfield Cup for Newmarket trainer Saeed Bin Suroor.
Major group1 wins with Snowden included the Golden Slipper on Sepoy and the Caulfield Guineas on Helmet.
‘‘There’s been no bust-up or falling out and we walk away still good friends,’’ McEvoy said. ‘‘It hasn’t been a decision I’ve made quickly, but I feel it is best at this time if I expand my horizons.’’
Ironically, McEvoy’s first winner as a freelancer could come out of the Godolphin stable at Canterbury today.
‘‘It’s only early days in this decision and I’ve got some rides for Godolphin this week, and then I’m sure the picture will become a little bit clearer heading on to next week,’’ McEvoy said.
‘‘There’s nothing to stop Godolphin from booking me for rides in the future and I’ll be happy to take rides.’’
He will ride two Godolphin runners today, Mohave in the 1250m handicap and Gouldian in a 1550m race.
Mohave will clash with stablemate Segregation, a Caulfield winner at his only start in May.
Also first-up as a three-year-old, Mohave trained off during the latter part of his juvenile season with three unplaced runs during the Brisbane winter carnival.
But the early part of his career was full of promise with a Breeders’ Plate placing at Randwick and a win in a Blue Diamond Stakes lead-up race.