Tumbarumba product and popular Southern Districts jockey Nick Souquet has no plans of retiring any time soon.
The 47-year-old – widely considered by many as one of the best country hoops in his prime – was off the scene for three months, with many punters asking the question, ‘has Nick Souquet hung up the boots?’
“I’m not done yet,” Souquet laughed when asked the question by NSW Country and Picnic Racing.
“I’ve been trying to get my weight down a little bit more. I got very heavy there for a minute, but at the moment, I’m 61kg and I rode at 59.5 kg on Saturday, then I will try and get it down to 58kg.”
Nick Souquet was back in action at Albury on December 4, and he jumped aboard $12 chance Kentucky Dream in the 1175m Benchmark 50 Handicap.
With 62kg on his back, the Mitch Beer-trained galloper flew down the outside for Souquet and was just beaten, finishing 0.16 of a length short of winner, Son Of Spartacus.
Souquet again rode for Beer at Albury on Saturday when guiding $2.20 favourite Wise Dragon (59.5kg) to second in the 1600m Benchmark 58 Handicap.
Souquet admitted that his age did make it harder for him to get his weight down quicker and to keep it down.
“Now that I’m back into it, it’s okay, but you have to do a lot more things right when you’re older,” Souquet laughed.
“When you’re younger, you can jump straight into it but when you get old, you need to watch your fitness and take it a bit slower.”
A cooler than usual spring and a mild start to the summer months have also made it harder for Souquet and other heavy weight jockeys.
“It’s a lot easier now in respect to the weather,” Souquet said.
“I was talking to Nick Heywood about it, and he said he had struggled with his weight too and he blamed the weather.
“For example, normally I would be going for a run up the hill and in summer I would lose a kilo or 1.2kg and this year, I would be losing 300gm.
“It has just made it a bit harder, but I should be okay now.”
The future is somewhat playing on Souquet’s mind, and he admitted to finding another job, as he begins to prepare for life out of the saddle.
“I am working in a distribution centre in Wodonga,” Souquet said.
“I’m backing riding, but I will still keep on working where I’m am. I just like going to work there. It gets me away from racing for 18 to 20 hours a week.
“Plus, I’m not going to be a rider forever and it is a job I can step straight into after racing is finished for me.”
The eight-time Southern Districts Racing Association jockey of the year believes he still has all the tools to be a leading hoop in the south.
“You never lose ability. You might lose hunger, but you never lose ability,” Souquet said.
“You just need to keep improving yourself. The day I want to stop trying to be my best and trying to improve myself is the day I won’t ride a horse again.”
The popular jockey is keeping busy with morning track work too, and he looks forward to more rides in the future.
“I ride for Mitchell Beer five mornings a week and I’ve got my eye in,” Souquet said.
“I’ve got some meetings lined up and it’s now just a matter of getting those rides.”