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In-form Heywood focusing on successful season (Wagga, Friday)

3 minute read

Leading jockey Nick Heywood’s quest for winners this season, and in particular the last week, should roll on into Wagga on Friday.

Jockey NICK HEYWOOD.
Jockey NICK HEYWOOD. Picture: Steve Hart

Nick Heywood rode consecutive trebles at Wagga (Saturday) and Moruya (Sunday) to take him to 71 wins for the season and in the top 12 in NSW.

His goal at the start of the season was to reach 70 winners but his sights are now on at least 10 more before the season draws to a close over the next eight weeks.

What makes Heywood's statistics even more impressive is the lesser number of rides than many of the other jockeys in front of him due to him not being able to ride lighter weighted horses.

Heywood has another strong book of rides at Wagga with Hellberg to open proceedings for him in the Bush & Campbell Accountants Lamont Classic (1200m).

The two-year-old race carries additional prize money totalling $30,000 and has attracted a field of nine including two debutants.

Sydney trainer Greg Hickman would love to win the feature race with Prorata who is a son of his own former champion Group 1 winner, Pierata.

The youngster ran eighth at his only start at Warwick Farm, but did win a trial in April at the same track.

Hawkesbury trainer Edward O'Rourke has also elected to bring filly Ivana to Wagga for her debut after three trials. A Million Roses is the most experienced runner with three starts to her name and is first-up since February.

Her trainer Joe Cleary has had eight winners from his past 50 starters and A Million Roses is capable of winning on what she has shown in some starts.

Meanwhile, Hellberg last raced when failing to beat a runner to the finish in the Blue Diamond preview after an eye-catching debut third at Geelong. He ranks as one of Heywood's best chances along with Finn's The Icon who is searching for three straight victories in the Macarthur Real Estate Benchmark 58 (1000m).

Finn's The Icon led from an outside barrier over the Wagga Cup carnival when the plan was to ride him back in the field. The three-year-old began so quickly for Heywood that he found the front providing a memorable winning moment for owner Sam Weir whose father Kerry prepares the galloper.

Heywood said this season has been up with his best on record: "I rode a lot of winners as an apprentice one season and this season has been better than the last when I fell one win short of what I wanted to reach," he said. "I have got to 70 now so I will focus on trying to get to 80."

Heywood will also ride Ready To Humble in a race of significance for many – the MTC CEO charity walk for MHF June 14-16.

MTC chief executive Jason Ferrario is undertaking a 150km walk from the Sydney Cricket Ground to McDonalds Jones Stadium – the home of the Newcastle Knights – in a couple of weeks.

Ferrario's late brother Rick Keast was a well known rugby league coach and player who lost his life to brain cancer in 2009: "I want to raise money for a cause close to my heart," he said.


Racing and Sports

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