South Scotland

Hawick jockey Ryan Nichol swaps horses for hearses

Ryan Nichol Image copyright Donald Whillans Racing
Image caption Nichol, in the yellow and blue, said his new career was "a little bit different"

An amateur jockey from the Borders has retired from the sport to take up a new career as a funeral director.

Ryan Nichol, 25, of Hawick, said a winning farewell to racing at Hamilton on Thursday aboard Donnachies Girl.

He then told Racing UK about his plans to leave the sport and pursue a major career change.

"That's it now," he said. "I've been offered a job funeral directoring. It's a little bit of a change but I suppose everything comes to an end doesn't it?"

"It's a little bit different, but I did a bit last summer," he added.

"You can never say you enjoy it, but it's all right.

"I'm getting older now so I have to look to move on and see what happens."

'Very grateful'

The jockey will be working for a fellow former rider in Paul Robson, who had to retire through injury.

He said: "Paul used to ride for Nicky Richards and was a very good jockey in his day, but injuries set him back.

"I'm going to work for him now and it'll be back in Hawick, which will be a big help back home with the parents and family.

"Paul gave me the option to carry on riding, but I thought once that's it, it's it."

He said he had had a good year in racing so it was a "good point" to go out.

He added that he was "very grateful" to Borders trainer Alistair Whillans who gave him his farewell winner.

"I did the complete opposite to what I was told to do, but luckily it worked out," he said.