Byrne closes on Ipswich title
CHAMPION Queensland jockey and six-time Ipswich premier hoop Jim Byrne continued his late season form surge at Ipswich on Friday.
A treble of wins has moved Byrne to within three wins of season-long leader Tegan Harrison.
The first of Byrne’s wins was aboard two-year-old Red Handle.
Tony Gollan is the trainer of the galloper.
The win was the 13th of the season for the reigning Ipswich premier trainer.
Interestingly however, Harrison had ridden Red Handle at all three of her previous career starts although Byrne was engaged for the maiden win.
Byrne rode another winner for Gollan later in the day, winning with Strata Lady to move Gollan to 31 season wins.
Former New Zealander Strata Lady gave Byrne his second win in the second last race of the day before completing his treble of wins aboard Air Force One in the last race for trainer Robert Heathcote.
This treble for Byrne allowed him to overtake leading apprentice Jim Orman to move to 29 season wins.
However Harrison struck back with a race-to-race double to move to 31 season wins with three meetings remaining at Ipswich prior to season end on July 31.
Harrison’s winners were aboard Jupiter Palm for Sunshine Coast trainer Paul Jenkins and Mysticism for visiting Goulburn trainer Kurt Goldman.
The majority of Harrison’s season winners have been for trainer Gollan as indicated by their equal season tallies.
It has however this season been unusual for each to collect a winning double without being in partnership at Ipswich.
Gillian Heinrich won the Ipswich Trainer’s Premiership two years ago.
Harrison won the Ipswich Cup two years ago.
A number of females, including Mandy Radecker, Tegan Harrison and Cassandra Schmidt, have won apprentice premierships.
This leaves the Ipswich Jockey’s Premiership as the final major honour to be collected by a female.
Harrison is a highly popular jockey with punters.
At Ipswich on Friday, she again showed her willingness to engage with the viewing public.
After winning the Les Kinnane Memorial aboard Mysticism, she was happy to have photos taken with the granddaughters of the late Les Kinnane.
A win in the premiership for this affable jockey would be a popular win amongst many.
It is no given however as Byrne has cut back the lead by a dozen wins in the past few months.
He has surged into form at the right time in chase of his seventh Ipswich Jockey’s Premiership title.
Friday meetings prove popular
THE return of Friday racing at Ipswich has been welcomed by regional punters with a couple of major functions being held in conjunction with race days over the past few weeks.
Swich On sold out their fundraising function within a few hours a couple of weeks ago as rugby league legends including Darren Lockyer, Gary Belcher, and Trevor Gillmeister enjoyed an afternoon trackside.
On Friday, it was the Hornets cricketers’ turn.
A large and festive group was in attendance to raise funds while enjoying a trackside function.
Friday racing continues at Ipswich through the remainder of winter.
The next break for Ipswich is the second week in September.
The current run of Fridays continues until the club AGM day, which is on a race day on September 2.