Leading apprentice jockey Billy Owen has created a number of firsts this month and at Wagga on Tuesday he can keep his roll going with the plum ride on Celebrity Reign in a heat of the Rising Star series.
Owen has been in devastating form in the saddle riding his first Sydney winner at Canterbury earlier this month which was followed up by another on Friday night.
Add to this his win in Sunday’s Cowra Cup plus multiple winners at tracks almost every day of the week and Owen is a jockey in demand.
The 26-year-old has been entrusted with the mount of Celebrity Reign for the Hayes and Dabernig stable and he is looking forward to his first ever ride for one of Australia’s biggest training operations.
“Obviously the horse will be right to go and the stable has a fair few runners in at Wagga,” he said.
“I’m glad they have given me this ride and he looks a good hope on his form.
“He has won two of his ten starts which isn’t a bad record for a race of this grade.”
Celebrity Reign toyed with his rivals winning at Wangaratta two starts ago before finishing fourth as favorite at Echuca.
It could come down to a battle between Owen and the region’s leading jockey Blaike McDougall who will ride the favorite Hail The Hero.
McDougall has created a huge impression since relocating from Sydney and will ride the recent winner for Albury trainer Donna Scott.
Hail The Hero chased hard when second behind Waiting For A Mate at Albury and that galloper has since proven competitive in Melbourne Saturday company.
Owen wants to get as many points as he can in the series which is restricted to apprentice jockeys.
“There are a lot of heats across New South Wales and you can’t get to all of the tracks because of the distance so it’s good when there is one so close to home,” he said.
“The apprentices look forward to these races and it helps promote the younger riders.”
Owen added that despite his recent success a win in the Rising Stars would mean a lot to him.
“It’s my first ride for the Hayes and Dabernig stable so I want to do well,” he said.
“I have been doing plenty of kilometres and it is paying off, but these races for apprentices mean a lot and it would be nice to win.
“I haven’t ridden a winner in the series since I made a comeback and I will be trying to gain as many points as I can.”