Jamie Bullard, who has won 999 races as a jockey, can reflect on a career including three Group I wins and being leading South Island rider five times.
Bullard, 39, is riding at Ashburton on Saturday, 18 years after his first win on that track aboard American Express in July, 1995.
Bullard had transferred has apprenticeship to Pam Robson at Riccarton that year after being based in the Central Districts.
Born in Palmerston North, Bullard started out with Stephen Gillies. He was then in the employ of Gus Clutterbuck for 18 months before joining the Opaki stable of Gerald Innes. He had his first win on the Innes-trained Glacial Express at Awapuni in November, 1993.
Bullard then had a stint with Charlie Walding before shifting to Christchurch. He completed his three year apprenticeship in March, 1996 with 42 wins.
His career blossomed and he was the leading South Island rider in the 1998-99 season with 64 wins. His tally included the listed South Island Two-Year-Old Championship on Night Dancer and and Southland Stakes on Stanley Starmaker.
Chris Johnson, the dominant South Island rider, began a seven year break from race riding that season.
Bullard was back on top in 2002-03 with 74 wins and led the next four season with a personal best 88 wins in 2004-05 and 80 the following season when Johnson made a comeback to rider 67 winners.
Bullard rode the first of three Group I winners in 2004 - Balmuse in the Kelt Capital Stakes at Hastings. His other wins at the top level are the 2006 New Zealand One Thousand Guineas on Dorabella and the 2011 New Zealand Two Thousand Guineas on Rock 'n' Pop.
He has won Awapuni Cups on Hold It Harvey (2011) and Distinctly Secret (2005).
He also rode Hold It Harvey to win the Group III White Robe Lodge Handicap in at Wingatui in 2010 and 2011, a Thompson Handicap at Trentham and Easter Cup at Riccarton.
He has won the White Robe on Volronamo (2004) and Jack Be Nimble (2005).
Bullard, who has battled increasing weight, now rides at 56.5kg and confines his riding to flat races. He proved a competent rider over fences, winning the 2001 Great Western Steeplechase at Riverton on Tactician. The same day he rode the flat winners Southern Prada and Iron Vein.
- The Southland Times