Rocky's premier jockey retires on high note
ADRIAN Coome, the gifted premier Rockhampton jockey who rewrote the records book through a multiplicity of Queensland, Rockhampton and Mackay premierships has ridden in races for the last time.
Coome, 28, announced on Saturday his immediate retirement triggered by the mature realisation that family and his personal health can no longer finish second to his prolific winning ways on the racetrack.
Adrian's family - wife Peta, daughter Metika and son Nate - will now relish Adrian not having to constantly battle his weight which at times spirals to 61.5kg when he is out of the saddle.
"My weight has always been my biggest problem. I have been struggling to ride at 57kg recently and I had always planned to retire from riding next year,” Coome said.
"I never wanted to ride too long. So, when the job offer came up recently in the mining industry, I decided that now was the time to go out on my own terms.
"I will miss riding no doubt but I am quite happy with my decision and family time will be a priority.”
Timing and fate are constant companions for any jockey and no doubt Coome's decision has been made much easier by another lucky escape so to speak at Twin Hills races on what turned out to be his last weekend of riding on September 23.
In a freakish incident, his mount Bradman crashed into the draw bar of the barriers stalls while at a gallop, whereby Coome miraculously escaped with a minor knee injury.
"It could have been much worse. I was lucky,” Coome expressed at the time.
So too has Rockhampton racing been lucky to boast a riding talent such as Adrian Coome, who made Callaghan Park his racing oyster, winning seven Rockhampton Jockey Club riding premierships.
"I won three Rocky Newmarkets, two on Our Boy Malachi and another on Nediym's Image. I also claimed three Rocky Cups aboard Writer; Ruling Force and this June on Colour Charge. Of all, the last Newmarket win on Our Boy Malachi was so special,” he reminisced.
Not to be forgotten are three Townsville Cup wins through Payteevee, Hussonator and Writer, and a swag of other provincial and country major trophy races.
Only two months ago, Coome achieved a "bucket list” win by landing the iconic Birdsville Cup.
Even more remarkable, Coome was crowned on multiple occasions as Queensland's premier jockey by riding more winners than any other of his ilk in the Sunshine State.
"I remember winning that title once as an apprentice,” Coome recalled.
In the 2013/14 season, when at his zenith, Coome rode a staggering 124.5 winners, while it should be remembered that his rides were limited through weight restrictions.
Coome believes he had 5295 race rides (his first on Ned's Suggestion in 2005) for 975 winners, providing an enviable winning strike rate of 18%.
Any wonder he was a punter's favourite and his name throughout Australia was instantly recognised as that of a winner.
Weighing 54.5kg when he first rode in races 12 years ago, not even Adrian Coome could have envisaged the success he would have under the restraining banner of a heavy weight hoop.
However, that success came at a price with in total well over a year seeing him sidelined through myriad injuries, the more serious being a fractured skull, elbow and other limbs.
Remind him of the downside and Coome once again shrugs it off preferring to dwell on the positives: "I've been lucky,” he says once again.
Maybe, Adrian Coome, but Rockhampton racing has been the lucky one to have hosted such a gifted and naturally talented jockey who defied all the odds and dominated in a quiet, unassuming and down-to-earth way.
In the changing racing scene where "fly-in” jockeys now dominate and proliferate at Callaghan Park meetings, the scenario is that a local jockey may never again match his feats.