Racing Victoria (RV) is greatly saddened to hear of the passing of Rodney John Griffiths following a long battle with illness.
A great rider in his time, Rodney amassed over 1,400 winners in Australia and abroad in his two decades as a jockey.
Raised in Devon Meadows, he was always destined to be a jockey, with a father who was a horse breaker turned trainer and both parents keen show riders.
From being around horses as a toddler, to at thirteen being the youngest rider to win the Royal Melbourne Show showjumping event, there wasn’t much Rodney couldn’t do on a horse.
With his heart set on becoming a jockey above all else, Rodney had his first of 15,000 race-rides in August 1983, before going on to be a multiple group 1 winning jockey, including the 1993 group 1 Cantala Stakes at Flemington.
One of Rodney’s biggest day’s came in 1995 at Caulfield when he won two group 1s in the same day, the Blue Diamond Stakes aboard Principality and the Futurity Stakes with Schillaci.
While he also etched his name in Irish horse racing history by winning the Phoenix Stakes, the Irish equivalent of the Golden Slipper, on Bradawn Beever in 1991.
Injuries slowed Rodney down in the later part of his career, with his last race-ride coming at the age of 32.
“He could have done anything with horses, but becoming a jockey was his calling and racing was better for it,” said Greg Carpenter, RV Executive General Manager – Racing.
“An excellent rider throughout the 1980s and 1990s, he enjoyed a career that allowed him to race at the highest level all around the world.
“On behalf of everyone at RV, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to Rodney’s family on their loss.”
Victorian Jockeys’ Association (VJA) CEO Matthew Hyland said; “He was an elite rider and held in the highest regard by past and present jockeys.
“I have fond memories as we worked our way through the ranks as apprentice jockeys. Rodney was a great man, and a good friend to a lot of people within the racing industry.
“He was a trailblazer as a rider. After spending time aboard he brought home that European style of riding, which so many jockeys have adopted in Australia today.
“On behalf of the VJA and all jockeys, past and present, I send my condolences to all of Rodney’s family and friends.”