Seven-times Hong Kong champion jockey Basil Marcus announced yesterday he has no plans to ride anywhere again when his contract expires in March. 'I wouldn't like to use the word retirement because it is so final, but when I have finished in Hong Kong this time, it's possible. I have no further plans to ride,' said Marcus, who recently celebrated his 45th birthday. 'I'll be here until my contract ends on March 17, then I will be going back to England to be with my wife and sons. I have had such a wonderful career in racing, perhaps now is the right time. I've done what I wanted to do for all these marvellous years. Now being with my family is what I want to do for the rest of my life.' Marcus did not seek a contract extension from the Hong Kong Jockey Club beyond March, but it had been widely anticipated he would continue riding in Britain, as he did last year. 'I have loved riding anywhere I have gone, including Britain, but Hong Kong has been really very special, it always has been,' he said. 'So when I think about where I would go to ride if it is not Hong Kong, I realise it would be very hard to replicate what I feel when I ride here. 'But to keep riding in Hong Kong is to be kept away from my family and I feel very strongly about being with them. Being able to spend time with them and still be successful as a jockey was a big part of why I came to Hong Kong for 10 years, but now they are living in England and I find that very hard.' Marcus arrived in Hong Kong more than a decade ago on the back of a starring role in South African racing and his tireless work ethic, ultra-competitive nature and unshakeable smile became an integral part of horse racing in Hong Kong. He has been a retained stable jockey for most of his Hong Kong career, with spells for Lam Hung-fie, David Hill, Ivan Allan and David Hayes, and has ridden more than 700 of his 3,000 career winners in Hong Kong, where he has won most of the major prizes and lifted the jockeys' championship seven times in the 1990s. The brilliant pocket dynamo's talents have not waned this season, with 17 winners and a strike-rate of more than 11 per cent, so Marcus is not making his decision based on his form. 'I can tell you it is nothing to do with my turning 45 a couple of weeks ago,' he laughed. 'I feel very fortunate to be as fit and as healthy as I still am, but perhaps it is time to see what comes next.' Hayes, who retained Marcus as stable jockey for three years, said yesterday the rider's future plans came as 'a big surprise'. 'Basil has said nothing to me about the possibility he would finish riding, never even hinted at it, but I can understand his family being his first concern,' he said. 'As a stable jockey, you would not find a better man than Basil. He was a hard worker, a great rider. You just couldn't ask for more than he put into the job and his record speaks for itself.' Marcus recalls his Hong Kong Derby win on Oriental Express as one of his most treasured moments in Hong Kong but he rode many of the best horses during the 1990s. His record includes feature wins on Triple Crown champion River Verdon, top sprinter Mr Vitality, Resfa, Smashing Pumpkin, Privilege and Special. And, aside from his own achievements around Sha Tin and Happy Valley, Marcus will be remembered for opening the floodgates for South African jockeys during the 1990s. There is no doubt Marcus' success encouraged the likes of Douglas Whyte and Robbie Fradd, the champions of the past two seasons, to try their luck in Hong Kong. Trainer David Hill has entered Peak Power for the Singapore Airlines International Cup on May 11. The Group One race over 2,000 metres is the third leg of the newly enlarged World Racing Series Championship. On an international rating of 112, Peak Power was one of 12 Hong Kong-based horses included in the 2001 International Classifications published this week. Meanwhile, Brian Kan Ping-chee's Snowstorm was withdrawn yesterday from Sunday's Stewards' Cup over fears that he could have traces of medication in his system. The highly rated British import, who was due to make his debut in the Group One race, was given a sedative injection for a veterinary procedure this week and was withdrawn on veterinary advice that there was 'some chance' the medication may still be present in the horse's system on Sunday.