By Ray Hickson
Josh Adams has done plenty of apologising and now wants to get back to the business of riding winners.
Adams opened up about the controversial ride on Magic Ray at Moree back on September 3 that sidelined him for six weeks and dashed his dream of a maiden Group 1 win.
The 25-year-old jockey returned to race riding at Canterbury during the week and has four mounts at Randwick on Saturday.
Magic Ray was the $1.70 favourite for the 1300m maiden, Adams had ridden the perfect race and the horse took the lead at the 300m.
He looked to be pulling clear when Adams eased up around 100m to go then got the shock of his life as Lord Russel ambushed him and it was too late when Adams pushed the button again.
“I thought I had the race shot to pieces,’’ Adams said.
“Most horses in that situation will run on. As soon as I eased up on him he hit the brakes, he actually stopped underneath me and that was the catalyst for him getting beaten.
“(The winner) wasn't making any ground on me until my horse hit the brakes. I still thought I'd won, narrowly, but it was shocking to say the least.
“More than anything I just take full responsibility, it was a brain snap, and the best thing I can do is look forward.’’
The incident at Moree couldn’t have come at worse time for Adams.
He was on cloud nine after winning the Group 2 Tramway Stakes on Happy Clapper the day before and was all set to take the ride in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap.
Of course Happy Clapper went on to win the Epsom and a Group 1 win would have completed a fairy tale comeback for Adams who spent two years exiled after testing positive to an illicit substance for the third time.
Climbing back from that fall from grace was tough but it also gave Adams, who was Sydney’s champion apprentice in 2010-11, a bit thicker skin.
He said Magic Ray’s trainer Todd Howlett and the gelding’s owner offered him support after his slip up though punters were less forgiving.
“I wasn't the first to do it and I won't be the last but I've definitely learned from it. It cost me good rides in good races,’’ he said.
“Nine times out of 10 they kick away and you win.
“I copped a lot of criticism from it and people sent me messages abusing me but at the end of the day it's my livelihood and it's cost me a Group 1 win.
“If anyone should be disappointed in the outcome it should be me, and I am, but I'm looking forward to moving on from it and riding winners.’’
As for Happy Clapper’s Epsom win, Adams said he couldn’t have been happier for trainer Pat Webster.
After all, Webster was one of the people who helped him back from the racing wilderness during his drug ban.
“I was stoked, I thought the horse deserves to be a Group 1 winner,’’ Adams said.
“For the last few years he's run into good horses in good races. It was hard to watch but it was good to see.’’
Adams wasn’t idle during his suspension, he rode in an estimated 65 barrier trials and rode trackwork a few days a week.
He’s keen to use the next few weeks, when Sydney’s leading riders are interstate, to re-establish himself and win back the trust of anyone who doubts his resolve.