Retired jockey Mattie Batchelor hailed as 'one of racing’s good guys'

Sara Bradstock has praised jockey Mattie Batchelor after he hung up his boots earlier this week.

Sara's husband Mark provided the 46-year-old with the most winners throughout his near 30-year career, combining for victory 37 times in the UK.

Batchelor's last ride was a winning one aboard Neil Mulholland's Hidden Depths at Les Landes in Jersey last August.

The Bradstocks also gave Batchelor his finest days in the saddle, with the popular journeyman successful at the Cheltenham Festival aboard King Harold in 2005, while also steering Carruthers to Hennessy Gold Cup glory in 2011.

Batchelor was instrumental in the early career of the Bradstock-trained Coneygree, too. The hugely-popular gelding would go on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2015, but was ridden to a pair of Grade Two novice hurdle victories in his formative years by Batchelor.

Reflecting on their long association, Bradstock said: "He rode us a lot of winners and we had a lot of good days together.

"There's no better man to have around. He was a good jockey and he never really got any chances. He's a lovely guy and one of racing's good guys, you would never find anyone in the weighing room who didn't love Mattie. He always had a smile on his face, was always happy and well and truly just a really nice guy."

Carruthers was a 10/1 shot when an inspired Batchelor drove him on to success in Newbury's pre-Christmas feature and Bradstock believes the jockey was the key to the victory on that November day in 2011, while she also reflected on the time Batchelor picked up ride of the year despite almost throwing away a Cheltenham Festival winner.

She continued: "I'm completely convinced that nobody else would have won the Hennessy on Carruthers.

"Because they go so fast at the beginning, Carruthers didn't really like that first cavalry charge and didn't jump well. I think any other jockey would have sat on him and thought I've got to get him jumping.

"Mattie knew the old boy needed daylight and he absolutely drove him up to the front. If you let him sit, he wouldn't have liked that with horses in and around him and he would have just finished in the middle of the field.

"So he definitely won that, he was completely instrumental in him winning that.

"He finished fourth in a Gold Cup on Carruthers as well and there's a lot of jockeys who will never say that."

She added: "The King Harold day was amazing when he nearly fell off at the last. He got ride of the year for that.

"He was very much the winner and I can't quite remember what happened at the last, but he lost one iron then kicked the other one out, and when someone said to him how did you manage to do that he said 'it was the fear of what Sara would have done to me'."

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