For many 50-year-olds a change in life direction can often be a dramatic experience.
That was the challenge faced by former jockey Stephen Sheehy two years ago.
After 33 years in the saddle he had enough. The competitive fire had burned out.
There was no fanfare, no valedictory address, just a low key bush meeting at Pingrup to signal the end.
“I was always told by older jockeys that you would know when your time was up,” Sheehy said.
“That’s how it happened really, I woke up one morning and it hit me.
“I was riding against young jockey’s thinking this was a younger man’s game now.
“I miss the comradeship but the opportunity seemed right with family and kids to tackle something different.”
With a strong racing pedigree and his father, Mick, a prominent trainer-breeder, Sheehy’s next career path always seem destined.
“There was no guidance on alternative careers or jobs on retirement,” said Sheehy.
“But with my background I was always going to get into training.
“Dad is virtually retired and said it was the right time to take over.”
Sheehy has made the transition to training appear seamless, currently holding a 100 per cent strike rate.
In a dream start he had success with his very first starter when Elite Flight scored at Albany on November 1.
He then followed up and made it two from two when Rossmoyne won at the same track a fortnight later.
“It’s been a bit freakish,” admitted Sheehy.
“But I’m going to take it while it’s there.
“I’ve been in racing too long and know the ups and downs.
“You never know where your next winner is coming from.
“I’m like a squirrel, putting it away for a rainy day.”
Sheehy is not discounting his winning spree continuing, despite Rossmoyne drawing the widest gate in the Albany Windows Handicap (1512m) on Thursday.
“He is a very good chance of winning, don’t you worry about that,” Sheehy said.
“He has drawn wide but it’s not an overly strong field.”
Sheehy’s profile will go up another notch if Elite Flight can snare victory in the Tabtouch Provincial Sprint Final (1200m) at Ascot on Saturday
The rookie trainer says he will be out to uphold local bragging rights, but is also apprehensive about stepping out on the big stage of Perth racing.
“It’s a bit scary,” Sheehy said.
“I don’t like the city life.
“I will be a little fish in a big pond.”
RWWA: Julio Santarelli