London (AFP) - Leading jockey Jamie Spencer is to retire at the end of the current flat-racing season in England, the 34-year-old Irish rider announced Thursday.
Spencer is to take up a a management role at Qatar Racing, headed up by Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, for whom he is currently the retained rider.
His new post will see Spencer, twice champion jockey in Britain and once in Ireland, working alongside Sheikh Fahad and his bloodstock advisor, David Redvers.
"This is a fantastic opportunity and if I have learnt anything in my riding career it is that you should take such opportunities when they come along," Spencer said.
"As much as I love race riding, it is not something I want to do for the rest of my life and while I am not necessarily ready to retire now, I feel at a stage when I am ready for a change."
Spencer made his name by winning the Irish 1,000 Guineas aboard Tarascon back in 1998 aged just 17, and has won plenty of other big-races during a career that also saw him spend the 2004 season as stable jockey to leading Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien.
"This has been a big decision and not one I have taken lightly. My priority is my family, and thinking of them and their future has played a key part in my decision. I feel I still have a lot to give to racing, and not just as a jockey," Spencer said.
Sheikh Fahad said: "I am delighted that Jamie will remain part of the team in his new role. I very much enjoy working with him and I am sure he will continue to be a great asset to Qatar Racing."