Queally to ride in California and eyes permanent US switch
Jockey Tom Queally will spend the winter riding in California and has not ruled out relocating there permanently if things work out in the months ahead.
Queally, 33, takes his first rides at Golden Gate Fields, near San Francisco, on Thursday having arrived in the US last week, since when he has been riding work and meeting trainers.
He said: "This is a move I’ve been looking into over the last two or three years and I’ve put the wheels in motion over the last 12 months, getting a visa and work permit."
Best known for his association with the unbeaten superstar Frankel, who he rode in each of his 14 starts, Queally's return of 30 winners this season is his lowest for 13 years.
Speaking to the Thoroughbred Daily News, he said: "Frankel sort of changed my approach and my overall demeanor toward riding. I began to focus more on quality and that was quite an easy thing to do while he was around.
"He was a very special race horse. He was out on his own in terms of physical presence, looks and demeanor. And then there was his ability, more so than anything else. Still thinking back now, it is quite surreal."
Queally's successes this season have included a Royal Ascot win in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on The Tin Man and landing the Northumberland Plate on Higher Power, but the rider admits the better horses have been trickier to come by.
He said: "I’ve been very lucky since [Frankel]. I managed to find the top sprinter in The Tin Man, but I understand you’re only as good as the horse you’re on and it’s not going to be easy when you’re not riding the best horses. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles."
Queally has two rides on Thursday and three rides on Friday, and is leaving the door open to a move to the US if the winter goes well.
“A lot will depend on how it plays out,” he said. “My agent asked me the same question [about moving]. I said to him it’s a blank canvas and if he can paint a picture that makes me stay here, so be it.
"The States have always been a place that interested me and I’ve had success here so I can’t see any reason why I can’t build on it.”