Racing: Nicholls weighs out

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DAVID NICHOLLS, one of the most respected jockeys in the North, yesterday announced his retirement from race-riding at the age of 37. He partnered 421 Flat winners during a 20-year career highlighted by his partnership with the Stewards' Cup winner Soba. Together they visited the winner's enclosure 11 times in 1982, and twice more the following year.

'The increase in my weight is the top and bottom of the reason for quitting,' said Nicholls, who has struggled to tip the scales at less than nine stone recently.

Nicholls, who is engaged to be married to Britain's top woman Flat jockey Alex Greaves, added: 'If I'd carried on riding, it wouldn't have done my health any good. I was having to spend so many hours sweating and wasting. I'd been restricting my eating habits for 22 years, and it had to stop.'

Nicholls will continue to build up the livery yard at his North Yorkshire home.