Dalgleish retires after weight battle

At the age of 21, great glories should lie ahead for Keith Dalgleish, one of the leading jockeys of the new wave and a talent apparently destined for racing's peak. Yet, this morning, Dalgleish's career, and perhaps his life, is in rubble.

The young man will not ride on the Flat again, a victim of a curse which affects so many in his calling, one which has hurt the very top men such as Frankie Dettori and Johnny Murtagh. Dalgleish has lost what is known in his sport as 'a battle with the scales'. More plainly it is a battle with himself.

Dalgleish has been betrayed by the same body which has propelled him to athletic success. His physique - he stands at over 6ft tall - has, since he started, appeared distinctly unsuited to his trade. The Scot has always been squatter camp-thin and possessed of a billiard hall complexion. The rigours must have been enormous just to keep him at work. But now he can stand the privations no longer. The racecard for Saturday evening at Hamilton now becomes something of a collectors' item. It is the last time the name of K Dalgleish will appear on a Flat programme. The jockey failed to take up his four rides at the Lanarkshire course and an announcement about Dalgleish's career was swiftly confirmed yesterday morning. "He has retired," Richard Hale, the jockey's agent, said.

"I only took him over a week ago and I took a phone call yesterday morning from his dad saying that Keith had packed in and was finished. He didn't say much more than that and didn't shed a lot of light on it, but he obviously has weight problems, and he said Keith would ring me in a day or two when he has got his head together.

"He is only 21, though, and it is not like retiring when you are 35. But he is over six foot tall, so it is an uphill struggle and it has presumably got the better of him. I can only read between the lines as he's only been with me a week, but he certainly never mentioned anything like this and it has come as a shock to me as well.

"He never carries any weight and is at a bare minimum, so is fighting the scales all of the time, and there will be no day when he went racing without wasting. Most people can have a few days off but if he let it go, he could probably put half a stone on quite easily."

Dalgleish's talent was enough to have earned him employment at Mark Johnston's Middleham yard. Indeed, his greatest success in the saddle came on Kingsley House's Yavana's Pace, whom he partnered to Group One success in Germany in August of 2002. He rode many of Johnston's luminaries, including Lucky Story, a winner at Glorious Goodwood last year.

There have been 22 winners this season but no more. If Keith Dalgleish is ever to feel the emotional rush of sharing in a horserace victory again it now seems it will have to come in another sphere of the turf. "A few people have been asking if he will go jumping and I am not saying that won't happen," Hale added, "but I just don't know at this stage."

* Kieren Fallon's legal team believe the disrepute charges facing the champion jockey are flawed. Fallon's solicitor, Christopher Stewart-Moore, has said that the jockey's comments to the News of the World "undermine the whole case" after hearing the tapes made by the newspaper. The Jockey Club's public relations director, John Maxse, commented: "A date has yet to be set for the hearing but we are looking at the back end of September."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist / Physio / Osteopath

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most