Jim Bolger on Kevin Manning: In the pantheon of jockeys, he is up there with the best

Jim Bolger led the tributes to his jockey and son-in-law Kevin Manning, who announced his immediate retirement at Galway on Monday.

Having partnered Bolger's Vocal Studies to victory, 55-year-old Manning called time on an illustrious career, meaning one of the longest standing partnerships in racing has come to an end.

Having first come across each other 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. Obviously we wish him very well," 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'. He was trying to decide when and he loves to do a bit of rough shooting (with hunting dogs), that's his thing, and that season starts tomorrow, so it was nice to go out on a winner today.

"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 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."

One of Manning's former weighing room colleagues Johnny Murtagh took to Twitter and said: "Congratulations to Kevin Manning on a wonderful career. Never gave an inch or looked for an inch on the track. Ultimate professional. Happy Retirement Kevin! #gentleman."

Former champion National Hunt jockey Davy Russell told Racing TV: "He's nearly as bad as me! God we feared him when we were younger, I used to work at Jim's and Kevin would come in and ride work and we just respected him so much. He was the utmost professional.

"A great man to have in the weighing room, you could ask Kevin anything. Throughout the winter I can remember him riding work on Nickname for Martin Brassil, he was a real team player. 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, I never really spoke to him much as a young lad but just watched him from a distance, the way he'd approach a day's racing.

"We used to go racing a lot with the mixed meetings. He might not have realised it but we were getting nuggets of information off him. I looked up to him something wicked, he was a hell of a man.

"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."

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