Consistent Ipswich jockey closing on premiership leader
JIM Byrne continued his tremendous mid-season surge with another three winners at Ipswich last Wednesday.
After sitting 10 wins behind current season Jockey’s Premiership leader Tegan Harrison a month ago, Byrne has halved that margin over the past three weeks.
He’s accrued nine wins in that time.
The January 27 meeting signalled the halfway point of the current season and was the middle week of a three week surge to top form for Byrne.
Already with six Ipswich premier jockey titles, combined with three apprentice titles in the bag, it appeared a forlorn hope for Byrne to collect enough wins this season to move to double figures for his career at Ipswich.
However that was in mid-January when his tally was at five season wins and he was barely in the top 10 for the premiership race.
What a difference a week (or in this case three weeks) makes as he has now moved to 14 and is suddenly in clear second place, five wins behind Tegan Harrison.
Byrne’s winners on Wednesday were Lonhro’s Spirit, for Toowoomba trainer Ben Currie, and a double for the Tony Gollan aboard The Umbrella Man and Bourbon Road. This double for Gollan moved his season tally to 22 to be well ahead of next placed Robert Heathcote on seven season wins.
The majority of Gollan’s wins in the first half of the season were with Harrison aboard.
It is fascinating to see Byrne’s surge mid-season being aided by winning rides aboard Gollan stable gallopers.
Gollan first won an Ipswich Premiership last season with 26 victories and sent an ominous warning six months ago saying he was going for more this current season.
With 22 wins just past the mid-season point, Gollan has stuck true to his word.
Trio dominate success
AS occurred on the eight race card three weeks ago, there were again only three winning riders at Ipswich last week for the seven race card.
Apart from Byrne’s treble, there were winning doubles to Ryan Wiggins and apprentice Luke Dittman.
Wiggins made it 10 wins for the season at Ipswich aboard St Andrews for Marcus Wilson and My Little Flicka for Ben Ahrens.
Luke Dittman has successfully returned to riding this season after a break of several years due to weight problems.
He has always shown enormous talent and seven years ago was the leading Ipswich apprentice for a season.
Hopefully he can keep his weight in check and go on in part to emulate his famous father Mick Dittman who won just about any race worth winning between the late 1960s and into the 1990s.
Dittman Senior was a triple Ipswich Cup winner. His Group 1 wins included the Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup double on Gurner’s Lane in 1982.
AFTER tomorrow’s meeting at Ipswich there is little continuity of race dates up until the new season when the club reverts to predominantly Fridays.
Over the next few months a Tuesday meeting is the only day missing as even a rare Sunday meeting occurs on Sunday, February 21.
Combine this with Labour Day Monday, Ipswich Cup and Legs Day Saturdays, a couple of Thursdays and a sprinkling of Wednesdays and Fridays and just about the whole week of days is covered at some stage.
Despite this erratic programming, there are some major upcoming events both on race days and non-race days.
The Swichettes Ladies Day which was such a success in 2015 is back on March 4.
A major event has been organised for Saturday night, February 27, in the Princess Fiona Auction Sportsman Dinner.
This worthy cause fundraising evening has had a great response and includes a large number of quality guest speakers and an even larger list of quality memorabilia to be auctioned.
There is a small number of tickets still available for this function which can be purchased by contacting Brett on 04128 06051.