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Brendan Ward's Sunshine State sea change

3 minute read

Well-travelled hoop Brendan Ward couldn’t have dreamed of a better start in his new venture after relocating to the Sunshine State this month.

The 50-year-old piloted a winner at Aquis Park on Saturday on the Polytrack at his first afternoon riding in Queensland.

The experienced jockey has ridden extensively across Victoria, New South Wales and in the nation's capital throughout his riding career.

Brendan Ward has only been on the ground at the Gold Coast for a week and had a perfect start in the new area, scoring aboard Nails And Pride for local trainer Marcus Wilson on Saturday.

The maiden galloper had only been under the tutelage of Wilson for one start before Saturday's 1540 metre event with Ward leading the entire way to score by two lengths.

Ward landed the ride – and one other for Wilson on the program - on Saturday through his connection with former Goulburn trainer Kurt Goldman.

Goldman – who has also relocated north in recent times – introduced the newcomer to the Sunshine State to Wilson.

"To kick-off with a winner was absolutely massive," the former Canberra-based jockey said.

"Kurt introduced me to Marcus and he quickly offered me a couple of rides for the coming Saturday.

"I jumped on it and it was massive to get a winner with my first ride here. It was fantastic.

"The horse drew 11, which is awkward, but he is an on-pace horse and there did not look to be a lot of tempo in the race.

"I thought if I could get across and get a soft lead – which I did – and he kicked well into the straight and it worked out perfectly."

Ward is riding work for Gold Coast trainer Jason Patton – a former jockey himself – that he knows from his riding days and he already has connections with rider-turned-conditioner Peter Robl.

Ward has more than 1,700 winners to his name and is a multiple-time winner of the premiership in Canberra.

He has put together seasons where he has piloted more than a ton of winners.

Ward tasted black-type success back in 2009 aboard Macknuckle in the Listed Wagga Gold Cup.

Ward enjoyed a strong association with Macknuckle and rode the now-retired galloper in a number of feature events around the country.

"I want to keep riding but when you are moving to a completely new state, you need to start from scratch again so to speak, to get your name out there," Ward said.

"It takes time. I know Jason and Peter from their riding days but I was keen to come up here and have a feel around a bit."

When based in the ACT, Ward was known for travelling far and wide around to the surrounding areas for rides.

He says that will be the case in Queensland as he will regularly also head to the Northern Rivers of NSW, as well.

The hoop took one ride at Grafton on Sunday.

"It is mostly a lifestyle change, we have been in Canberra for 14 years myself and my wife," the veteran hoop said.

"We thought it would be a good change and if I could keep riding – that would be a bonus.

"It is a big change from Canberra.

"Canberra has been fantastic to me, I have loved Canberra and those surrounding areas but I thought we would give Surfers Paradise a go."

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