2015 Magic Millions champion Luke Tarrant returns from ban to chase another 2YO Classic win
Jockey Luke Tarrant won the 2015 Magic Millions with Le Chef. Picture: Jerad Williams.
MAGIC Millions champion jockey Luke Tarrant concedes he was a lost soul when Australia’s richest race day was run last year.
The Sunshine Coast-based talent and then-reigning 2YO Classic winning jockey was nowhere to be seen at the 2016 event as he began what would be an eight-month riding suspension after testing positive to a cocaine derivative. It came just a year after he became the toast of the nation by winning the 2015 2YO Classic with the Darryl Hansen-trained Le Chef as an apprentice.
The now 22-year-old has opened up about having his career shattered by the ban and how he plans to resurrect it by teaming up with Hansen again to win Saturday’s $2 million 2YO Classic with Bring It Home Pop.
Tarrant said he wasn’t the same person that first lifted the Magic Millions trophy as he looks to come back from what was one of the hardest periods of his life.
“It was rough and I have changed a ton as a person,” Tarrant said.
“In all honesty it was probably a good thing for me having the time on the sidelines.
“It woke me up a little bit and showed me what I really wanted to be doing. I’d rather be riding than sitting on the sidelines.
“I sort of needed it but it was also a pretty rough time. I lost a lot of friends and found out what people really thought of me.
“You get into racing and then racing is your life. You live and breathe it. I was living with my boss and everything you do is working around racing so when it’s taken away you get pretty lost.
“I was very young when I first started riding. It was my first real job and I was earning big money.
“When you get put on the sideline you realise how hard it is to make that sort of money anywhere else. It taught me the value of money and I learnt a lot. But it’s all falling back into place.”
Tarrant has been back in the saddle since September and said he wanted to use Saturday’s race to announce his return in a big way.
“I need something like this to show that I’m just as good as I was before, if not better,” Tarrant said.
“If I can get on the right horse I can still get the job done. I’m just happy I have Hansen with the horse that is hopefully going to do it for me.
“I just want to prove to people that I can still ride and I’m not as bad as I was made out to be. I’m here to work and I’m here to win.”
Tarrant won the 2014 Tattersall’s Recognition Stakes Listed Race with Rudy on his way to winning the 2015 Magic Millions feature event that he labelled the pinnacle of his career so far.
And he took confidence from starting this campaign in exactly the same manner with Cylinder Beach.
Hansen stood by Tarrant at his lowest point and the jockey wanted to win the 2YO Classic for the Sunshine Coast-based trainer.
Bring It Home Pop is currently a $67 chance with UBET to win on Saturday and despite having a tough start from barrier 20 Tarrant knows first-hand the colt shouldn’t be written off.
“I’m feeling very similar to last time – confident and excited,” Tarrant said. “Two years ago it was very similar in that I was confident in my mount but a lot of others didn’t really give it a chance.”
Hansen labelled the odds “outrageous” and said the horse he described as a “genuine tradesman” for his willingness to win was a definite chance in the race.
“If he gets some luck then I think he can win,” Hansen said.
Hansen and Tarrant vowed to return to challenge for a second Magic Millions win when they first tasted success in 2015 and the trainer said he wouldn’t have any other jockey on board Bring It Home Pop.
“Luke does a lot of work for my stables and is one of the best in Queensland so that’s why I put him on,” Hansen said.
Story courtesy Tom Boswell – Gold Coast Bulletin