Group 1-winning jockey Nikita Beriman says she’s going out on her own terms, after announcing her retirement from race riding on Saturday.
The 33 year-old has been severely hindered by hip injuries in the backend of her career, but says she’s content with the decision to retire and is excited to start the next stage of her life.
“I’ve achieved everything I’ve wanted to and it was my choice to retire, I could have had surgery and tried to come back but decided I was ready for the next challenge,” she said.
“I’ve loved my time in racing, it’s enabled me to meet so many amazing people and there’s really so many that I would love to thank for their help during my career.”
Beriman confirmed she will be moving home to Caloundra in Queensland this week, to be closer to her family.
“My mum and dad both live there and I’m really looking forward to being able to go to my niece and nephew’s sporting games and things like that.
“Being a jockey is mostly amazing but you do miss a lot of family time, especially if they live interstate, so I really can’t wait to move back this Thursday.”
Beriman has had 695 career victories including becoming the first female jockey to win a Group 1 in Victoria when claiming the Emirates Stakes on Tears I Cry at the massive odds of 100-1 in 2007.
She won her first race as a 16 year-old apprentice in 2002 on Lightning Tears, a horse trained by her father Dennis.
“It’s certainly been a thrill, all the way from that first win for my Dad, when the stewards joked that I wasn’t able to bring my fan club anymore because my mum cheered so loudly.
“I grew up in racing, my dad was a trainer and a jockey and my mum was a jockey and I always wanted to be one too and I’m proud of what I achieved.
“I’m most proud of getting that Group 1 win and also making the move from being an apprentice to a senior rider, it’s a really hard time and I was happy to have been able to make that transition.”
Throughout her career Beriman has strived to be a mentor to younger jockeys, especially the female riders.
And while she’ll be taking time away from racing for now she doesn’t rule out returning in the future.
“I know how hard it is to break through and I tried to do whatever I can to help the up-and-coming riders in the industry.
“You never know what the future holds but I’m excited about what is ahead and just hope I can keep being of some help.”