LUKE’S BLAZING SADDLE From gloom to boom for Tarrant
LUKE Tarrant might still be a touch short on breath, but he has been quick out of the blocks as he sets out to reaffirm his reputation as one of Australia’s most promising jockeys.
Tarrant steered home winners at each of the three meetings he has ridden since returning from a six-week suspension for reckless riding in the Grand Prix Stakes in May.
The incident, where he crossed the field on Jumbo Prince, ranks as the lowest point of his career after earning the wrath of not only stewards, but other jockeys, most notably, champion Sydney rider Hugh Bowman.
After a return week that took in meetings at Caloundra, Mount Isa and Doomben, Tarrant was frank in assessing how low he had sunk in the wake of the saga. “It shattered me,” he said. “It’s an awful thing to go out for and it was largely publicised as well.
“It was long and hard, but probably not the worst thing for me. It makes you realise just how badly you want to be successful.”
The suspension dashed any hopes Tarrant had of a maiden Brisbane premiership and while he would dearly love to atone this season, he is aware he has some work to do to stay in favour with owners and trainers.
“First things first, I need to stay out of the stewards room,” he said. “It seems every time I have a big day, I end up in trouble. I won the Villiers and had the weight thing (where he came within 100 grams of losing the race for weighing in light on Rudy) and after I won the Magic Millions there was the whip suspension.
“Then this latest one came on the same day I should have been celebrating winning the Sires (on Look To The Stars) for a great trainer like Clarry Conners.” Tarrant concedes he is not yet “match fit” after the six-week break.
“Even though I was still riding work most days, there’s nothing like riding in races and I’ve found these first few meetings really tough,” he said.
He went to Mount Isa as a guest of Le Chef’s owner Lenore Saunders, who managed to find him two winners among six rides at the meeting.
“It was a great day. It was a shame I had to come back on the Friday, because I would have loved to have stayed for the rodeo,” he said.
Tarrant suggested one of his Mount Isa winners, the former Sydneysider Wilker, was up to winning a race in the city.
“He’s a very nice horse,” he noted.
Tarrant was back in the city winning list on Grenache for Bryan Guy and felt he would have snared a double if Mistral Thief had sported blinkers in the three-year-old.
WITH NATHAN EXELBY