THE Rockhampton racing fraternity is in shock after learning about the death of champion Queensland jockey Stathi Katsidis.
His body was discovered at his home in Hendra on Brisbane’s northside early yesterday by his partner Melissa Jackson.
Katsidis has links to Rockhampton, as Melissa’s mother lives here.
Rockhampton Jockey Club chief executive Denis Cox said the news was “a tragic loss to racing”.
“He was a brilliant jockey who had enormous potential,” Cox said.
“Everyone from the racing community would like to express our deepest sympathies to his family.”
Katsidis has ridden at Rockhampton’s Callaghan Park and Yeppoon Racecourse in the past.
He was due to ride AJC Australian Derby winner Shoot Out in Saturday’s Cox Plate at Moonee Valley and next month’s Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
The cause of death is unknown but police believe there were no suspicious circumstances.
Racing Queensland Limited chief of thoroughbred stewards Wade Birch honoured Katsidis and his contributions to the racing fraternity.
“The passing of Stathi is a tragedy,” he said. “He had recently turned his life around to become one of the country’s leading jockeys.”
Katsidis was awarded the top honour of the George Moore Queensland Jockey of the Year award last season after winning the premiership and producing numerous Group and Listed wins.
He was also honoured with the same award in 2007, and before his death, was in second place in the 2010 premiership.
Katsidis won some of the country’s biggest races – the Magic Millions 2YO Classic, Winter Stakes, Queensland Oaks, Randwick Guineas and the AJC Derby.
As Katsidis climbed to the heights of his career he was also using his skills to assist those just starting out in the industry and recently became involved in an apprentice training program.
“He had begun spending time with young apprentices passing on his undoubted skill and knowledge but also inspiring them with his own story of success,” Birch said.
Date of birth: February 19, 1979.
Home town: Toowoomba, Queensland.
Brisbane Premiership wins: 2003-04 (58 winners); 2005-06 (75); 2009-10 with Larry Cassidy (72).
Group One winners:
Shoot Out - 2010 Randwick Guineas.
Shoot Out - 2010 AJC Australian Derby (Randwick).
Nova Star - 2007 Winter Stakes (Eagle Farm).
Gold Edition - 2007 Manikato Stakes (Moonee Valley).
Allow - 2006 Queensland Oaks (Eagle Farm).
Show A Heart - 2000 TJ Smith Classic (Eagle Farm).