High-flying Aaron Bullock hopes to continue his outstanding start to the season with another 'first' – a Hawkesbury breakthrough on Thursday.
Bullock has hit the ground running to clearly lead both the Australian and New South Wales riding premierships with 34 winners since August 1.
And though he has been successful on 32 different tracks during his career, Hawkesbury so far is not one of them.
Bullock has taken two bookings at the meeting; in the last two events on the nine-race program.
He rides Without Conviction ($8.50 on TAB fixed odds) for Paul Perry in the Fowler Civil Contracting F&M Benchmark 64 Handicap (1400m) and Silent General ($26) for Matthew Smith in the Redbank North Richmond CG&E Benchmark 64 Handicap (1400m).
“It would be nice to get the monkey off the back there tomorrow,” Bullock said. “I haven’t ridden at Hawkesbury a lot because the top Sydney jockeys go there regularly and I haven’t had all that many opportunities.
“Things are going really well, and my riding weight now is around 56kg and probably the best it’s ever been. I worked hard to get fitter and have kept up with the training.”
Bullock has had 19 rides at Hawkesbury for six placings, and considers hat-trick seeker Without Conviction has an excellent chance of providing him with a breakthrough at the track.
He has partnered her in recent victories at Scone (August 6 in an 1100m Benchmark 58 Handicap against her own sex) and Gunnedah (August 19 in a 1300m Class 3 Handicap).
“Her last win at Gunnedah when she beat the favorites (Heredero and Tokyo Bullet) was even better than her Scone win,” Bullock said.
“I know she is stepping up to provincial company, but it looks the right race for her. She has a good turn of foot, is against her own sex, has drawn an inside gate and the 1400m is going to suit.”
Bullock missed three meetings last week because of a suspension, but quickly picked up where he had left off, bagging a Mudgee double (Sandstorm and Stampede Warrior) on Sunday and a Scone treble (Emanuela, Luna Mia and Little Al) the following day.
Bullock credits his new manager, former Mid North Coast chief steward Drew Smith, with playing a vital role in his surge of winners this season.
“Drew has been looking after my rides since August 1, and is doing a terrific job,” he said. “I’m sure he can take me to the next level.”
Without Conviction’s trainer, Newcastle’s internationally-successful Paul Perry, is an unabashed fan of Bullock: “He has got his eye in and has never ridden better,” Perry said.
Though Perry is no stranger to winning races at Hawkesbury, it has been many seasons since he has done so and has his biggest representation in a long time at tomorrow’s meeting.
As well as Without Conviction, Perry also will be represented by Roman Candle (Pink Finss Charity Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap, 1300m-$5), Patagonian (Griffin Air Conditioning Maiden Plate, 1100m-$41), Divine Dream (The Bachmayer Orthodontic Clinic Maiden Plate, 1800m-$34), and three-year-old Call Me Mo (Bedrock Quarry Products & Bulk Class 2 Handicap, 1600m-$5.50), who has won two of his last three starts.
Leading country jockey Greg Ryan, who continues his successful association with promising Wyong four-year-old Poulton Le Sands (Richmond Club Benchmark 64 Handicap, 2100m-$3.90), rides Patagonian, Divine Dream and Call Me Mo. Adam Hyeronimus has the mount on Roman Candle.
Perry also has second emergency Dreamfyre (Christian Reith-$17) in the Richmond Club Benchmark 64 Handicap (2100m), but the five-year-old mare, who has also won two of her last three starts, is not yet assured of a start.
The rail is out 5m from the 1300m to the winning post, and in the TRUE position for the remainder of the circuit.
A Good 4 rating was posted this morning, with a penetrometer reading of 4.76.