Covid restrictions meant that the crowd wasn’t there to witness apprentice jockey Jackson Searle coming within two wins of riding the card at Barraba on Saturday. The 17-year-old Tamworth apprentice piloted home four winners on the six-race program, including the feature $16,000 Barraba District Cattle Breeders Cup (1400m).
Winners of the remaining two races were ridden by Brooke Stower, who also filled minor placings behind Jackson’s winners on three occasions.
Jackson, in his first year of apprenticeship with Tamworth trainer Cody Morgan, kicked off by booting home Bayendi for Tamworth trainer Robert Bandy in the first race (1720m Class 1 and Maiden Plate). That followed with victories on Rapid Eagle for Bendemeer trainer Jane Clement in the 1000m BM 45 and Unitary for Tamworth trainer Melissa Dennett in the 1200m Class 1. He completed his run of success by taking out the feature cup with Ballast, the latter’s win giving trainer Melissa Dennett a winning double for the day.
It’s the first time in his short riding career that Jackson, a former titleholding junior bullrider,has booted home four winners, though he was quite confident with all four prospects prior to the race.
“It helped that I had pretty good horses underneath me, but probably my best on the day was in the cup with Ballast (who beat Terrius by half a length and third placed Liberty Head by a further two lengths). We didn’t get the ideal position of wanting to lead, so had to sit outside the leader. I just kept applying the pressure and niggling at him, and that’s when I knew he was a tough one. He came away nicely to win.” he said.
Brooke Stower’s winning double came with Super Hot for Muswellbrook trainer Pat Farrell in the 1000m Maiden Plate and Snobby Shores for Cessnock’s Jeremy Sylvester in the 1400m Maiden.
Sitting high in the Brian Baldwin Stand calling the races was Rod Fuller, who made a passing comment that it was “an honour to be standing here in this stand” – an accolade for its namesake Brian Baldwin who covered the meeting for decades. Saturday was Rod’s third trip to Barraba to call the meeting.
“Over the last 35 years, I’ve called races at Randwick and Rosehill, now I cover Tuncurry and Murwillumbah through to Tamworth, Armidale and Walcha. But I love coming to tracks like Barraba, it’s for the community – you’re working with real people. It’s not so clinical, you can talk to people and get their stories, and that’s most important. I’d rather go to a place like Barraba where you get a big fun crowd rather than do a TAB meeting where you get 50 people.”
Rod fully commended Barraba for going ahead with Saturday’s meeting.
“There are so many now canning theirs because of Covid restrictions – it’s just too hard. Barraba went ahead, and I commend them for that. A lot of trainers and owners out there are doing it tough at the moment, and it’s money in their pockets. And two jockeys rode the program.”
Rod added that next year, when all restrictions have settled and race meetings get back to normal, people will support Barraba because they took the stand to race on Saturday. By Vinnie Todd