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Darren Gauci set for new racing challenge

Darren Gauci smiles as he returns to scale
Darren Gauci has announced his retirement and will take up a position coaching young jockeys.

Champion jockey Darren Gauci has announced his retirement but will remain a part of the industry as a mentor to young riders.

The 51-year-old will take up a position with Racing Victoria as an apprentice jockey coach early next month.

Gauci replaces Matt Hyland who last month took over the role of chief executive of the Victorian Jockeys’ Association.

Last year Gauci completed a Certificate 4 in Training at Swinburne College to enable him to train the aspiring jockeys.

Gauci retires after a career spanning more than three decades and 2500 winners, including four Victorian premierships, three as an apprentice, and 35 Group One victories.

He acknowledged he could have continued riding but said joining RV was too good an opportunity to pass up.

He will join Matt Pumpa as RV’s other apprentice coach.

“Long-term it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do and now I’ve got the job I’m looking forward to working with the team,” Gauci told Melbourne radio station RSN927.

“I will miss riding but I’ve been training for this job for 37 years.

“I’ll have to step up. Matt Hyland and Matt Pumpa worked very well as a team and the results are there with the apprentices over the last couple of years.”

Gauci rode a number of the superstars of Australian racing including Shaftesbury Avenue, Lonhro and Super Impose and his biggest regret was not being able to win a Melbourne Cup, having finished second three times.

“I was a little unlucky in one of them but the other two had every chance,” Gauci said.

“It would have been nice to win a Melbourne Cup. That’s every jockey’s dream, but I can’t complain, I’ve had a wonderful career.”

Gauci begins his new job on February 6 and is likely to have his last rides two days earlier.


Age: 51

Apprenticed to Frank King at Caulfield

First Win: Terbla, Bairnsdale, April 1982

Career Wins: 2500 plus

Group One Wins: 35. First: River Rough, 1983 Pure Pak Stakes. Last: El Segundo, 2006 Underwood Stakes.

Melbourne jockeys’ premierships: 1983/84; 1984/85; 1985/86 (as an apprentice); 1995/96

Melbourne Cup: Runner-up three times on Chagemar, 1984; Super Impose, 1989; On A Jeune, 2005.

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