The quiet polite gentleman Brad Pengelly announces his retirement
Published 28 September 2022
Gladstone born jockey Brad Pengelly 45, one of the best of his profession originating from Central Queensland announced his retirement after riding Oslen (NZ) to victory at Yeppoon on Tuesday.
Publicly, Brad had given no clue to his impending retirement but his reasons for doing so are well founded and as he said “have been thought right out”.
Pengelly has battled weight problems for many years and he believed his body was telling him that the arduous efforts of having to sweat and reduce just to ride 57kg is starting to take its toll.
“I started to think seriously about getting out last summer as it’s my body was just not recovering from all the sweating and wasting. I have always had a serious weight battle but I had hoped I would get lighter as I got older. It wasn’t to be. It has become so hard and strenuous that I actually have to lose a couple of kilos just to ride 57kg. I am just not enjoying it anymore and I believe it is time to secure my future”, Pengelly said.
He went on – “I have been fortunate enough to secure a job in the mining industry in Central Queensland so I have been lucky. I believe that will be my future now”.
The future always looked bright for a baby-faced Brad Pengelly, son of Gladstone trainer Phillip Pengelly right from the day he rode his first winner on April 2, 1994 on his home track.
(He would go on to win over 1500 races throughout Australia and overseas).
As the winners flowed in, Pengelly attracted the attention Sydney trainer Alan Bell before he became indentured to former champion jockey the Randwick based trainer Ron Quinton.
Pengelly soon became a trademark name in Sydney where over his career he won hundreds of races including scores at Royal Randwick where he captured the time honoured 2001 GR 2 Villiers Handicap (1600m) on Careal Boy.
In all, Pengelly won nine races on Careal Boy a horse to whom he was much attached.
During his career Brad had numerous special wins including two at GROUP 2 level, six in GR 3 races as well as winning over 20 Listed Races.
“In my mind probably the best race I won was on Pat Duff’s Heart Of The Citi in a $1M Magic Millions 3YO at the Gold Coast”, Brad relived.
That was in 2008 during a period that B. Pengelly was under strong demand from trainers of the likes of Bruce McLachlan and Gerald Ryan.
Even 15 years ago weight battles were Pengelly’s nemesis, winners on Brisbane metropolitan tracks kept coming weekly before later jockeying overseas at Malaysia and Mauritius.
At one stage the weight grind became so much that from 2012 to 2015 he had a break from riding to “rest the body” but he returned just as skilled as ever.
During his halcyon years in Sydney his skill was complimented securing rides and winning numerous races for trainer Gai Waterhouse and being in demand from Bart Cummings when his weight allowed.
It must have been a huge thrill to ride subsequent Melbourne Cup winner Viewed (2008) for Cummings when fifth in the GR 2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill in March, 2007.
No, it was more like a dream come true for the boy from Gladstone who cut his jockeying teeth winning races around the Central Queensland bush track like Dingo and Calliope.
On one occasion he rode four winners on a Sydney Saturday card while he later bettered that riding five in a day at Mackay and the Sunshine Coast.
In more recent years, Brisbane based Brad Pengelly has concentrated as a fly in -fly out jockey riding on the northern TAB circuit of Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns riding over 150 winners.
Of these 54 were at Callaghan Park, Rockhampton.
By a quirk of fate, Pengelly’s last winner, the Glenda Bell trained Oslen (NZ) at Keppel Park carried purple colours with a black armband.
Brad’s second winner and first away from his home track Gladstone was Bright Action in the same colours for the late Tony Button at Dingo in April 1994.
Always the quiet polite gentleman, Brad Pengelly was a stylist jockey with a natural and special skill – a gift and his retirement will leave the northern jockeying ranks all the poorer.
“I believe I can leave my jockeying career being certain that I can hold my head high and I am proud of that”, Brad concluded.
Brad Pengelly, to coin a racing phrase “that is a certainty” – good luck and good health from all Central Queensland racing stakeholders.