By Alex Nolan
Tuesday was a day of mixed emotions for one-time premiership winning jockey Baylee Nothdurft.
On the same day his greyhound Whiskey Sour won an Ipswich maiden at $71, Nothdurft officially put an end to his riding career by cancelling his jockey’s licence.
The 23-year-old has taken a couple of sabbaticals over the past two seasons as an endless battle with scales threatened to impact his long-term health.
He announced he would take an indefinite break, or, ‘retirement without retiring’ in February this year but has now made it official.
“I cancelled my jockey’s licence this week, it’s all over,” he said.
“It’s a bit sad but what do you do?
“I’m experiencing plenty of emotions at the moment.
“But, if I kept it, it would always be there teasing me to come back.
“I would be sort of killing myself if I did try and come back and wouldn’t last very long.”
Nothdurft said he could look back fondly on what he achieved in a short but successful riding career, piloting more than 340 winners at a strike-rate of 18 per cent, including seven Listed features.
“The highlight was probably winning the metropolitan premiership as an apprentice,” Nothdurft said.
“Only two other people in recent times have done that, Michael Rodd and Zac Purton, so I’ll always be in the history books alongside them.”
Nothdurft will continue his association with the Steven O’Dea and Matthew Hoysted stable at Eagle Farm, where he rides track work.
He said he takes great satisfaction out of seeing a horse he rides in work come out and win.
However, he is also enjoying some success in the greyhound code, having owned a handful of dogs trained by another jockey in Nathan Evans.
The latest winner, Whiskey Sour, is a bitch by Hooked On Scotch out of Miss Fernando – who won 10 races from 288 metres to 520 metres for trainer Noel Evans.
Lining up for her third start on Tuesday, Whiskey Sour was sent out at $71 after finishing sixth and fourth at her first two starts.
Jumping cleanly from box four, Whiskey Sour settled outside leader Rex Hunter throughout the 431 metre event and proved too strong over the concluding stages to win in 25.36 seconds.
Having backed the bitch at his first two outings, you’d think Nothdurft would’ve buttered up again on Tuesday.
“I’m the unluckiest owner you’ll ever meet in your life,” he sighed.
“I did my money on her first start, backed it up the second start and then didn’t have a cent on her on Tuesday.
“Nathan was confident, but he’s always confident, and he’s had $50 each-way on her and collected $6,000”
Introduced to the greyhounds by his parents, who prepared dogs to race at the old Toowoomba circuit, Nothdurft has enjoyed a lifelong involvement with the animal.
“I had always followed the sport with Dad and I’ve been friends with Nathan for about seven years now. When he got his trainer’s licence I went into a dog with him called Pipe Of Peace, who won four races really quickly for us,” he said.
“Training is something that really interests me, but it’s probably something I’ll look at later in life.
“Dad has retired from work now so hopefully he dabbles back in it and I can learn the ropes from him.”