Laking returns to saddle - as an amateur
Jason Laking, who won 330 races, including the Group I New Zealand One Thousand Guineas as a jockey, is making a comeback as an amateur rider at the Otago meeting today.
Laking, 31, has not ridden in a race for three years. He rides to work at Ashburton. He gave away race riding in 2011 due to an increase in weight. His riding weight is now listed at 62kg and his mount, My Reason has 67kg in the 1600m race for amateur riders today.
Laking won the One Thousand Guineas on The Jewel in 2002 when apprenticed to Hec Anderton at Wingatui. Hec then had his son, Steve as a training partner.
"He [Jason] was an extremely good horseman," Hec said.
Laking rode The Jewel to win the Dunedin and Southland Guineas. He rode the daughter of O'Reilly in eight of her 11 wins and second placings in the Two Thousand Guineas and New Zealand Oaks.
The rider won 10 group or listed races in 13 seasons as a licence holder. He was the leading South Island apprentice in 2000-01 season with 46 wins.
My Reason has not raced since May 11 when he finished ninth fresh up on a heavy track at Ascot Park . His two wins have been at Wingatui over 1600m and 1400m on dead and slow tracks.
He is trained there by Terry Kennedy. Laking rode Lesley Brook (2009) and Eskander (2004) to win at Trentham for the Kennedy stable.
Danny Frye, a rival for Laking today, made a comeback as an amateur three years ago after a break of 24 years from race riding. Frye, now 50, won over 190 races as a jockey and has since had two wins as an amateur.
Gareth McRae, who formerly trained at Riverton and more recently at Pukekohe, has taken a position as stable foreman with Jon Sargent at Randwick.
Sargent now has 30 boxes at Randwick. He is winding down his Matamata stable where he trained this season on partnership with Hayden Allen.
McRae trained this season in partnership with Richard Collett although they operated separate stables in Pukekohe. McRae was formerly a stable foreman in Sydney and he trained in Macau for four years.
Captain Scott, formerly trained by Collett and McRae and winner of four races for Invercargill owner, Louis Crimp, is now at Randwick with Sargent.
The Collett stable has promising 2-year-old, Shanzou, having his first start at Ruakaka on Saturday. The Zizou gelding won a 1000m trial at Ellerslie on June 6.
Zinjete Moki has transferred her apprenticeship from McRae to Collett.
"It was always the intention of Gareth and his wife, Robyn to return to Sydney," Collett said. "The timing is ideal with the employment opportunity with the Sargent stable."
"They have owned a home a few minutes from Randwick racecourse since they moved to Sydney about 18 years ago. The property was rented during their time in Macau and the last eight years in New Zealand."
Robyn who has been managing their Dun Gowan agistment farm at Patumahoe, will take over the running of the office for the Sargent stable.
- The Southland Times