Brad Stewart finds winning groove after steering clear of trouble in stewards’ room
RED-hot jockey Brad Stewart says the special ingredient in his recent run of form is very simple — staying out of the stewards’ room.
A double at Doomben on Wednesday made it 11 winners in the space of a week for Stewart, whose tally of 62 winners this season is better than any number he has posted in the past decade.
“I wouldn’t say there’s any real reason I’ve been having a good couple of weeks, I’ve just had good rides,” he said. “I’ve been going to the races with good rides and they have been running that way.”
Those who have watched Stewart closely over the years know he is a gifted rider when on song, but it has felt like a stop-start career at times.
Stewart, Queensland’s leading apprentice in 1998 and 1999, has not been as prominent in the leading rider ranks as his ability warrants but he accepts the reasons why.
“A lot of that is my own doing. I’m always getting suspended. I get suspended, then my weight balloons,” he said. “You might only get a two-week suspension, but it puts you back six weeks by the time you get your weight back.
“If I could say anything’s different (at the moment), I’ve been able to stay riding for a period of time, which has certainly helped.”
In 2017, Stewart has been outed just once. That’s a world away from 2016, where he was on the receiving end of eight suspensions.
“I’m probably too competitive at times, but I’ve been able to get that under control and I guess that’s why the winners have flowed a bit more because I’ve been able to get that momentum going,” he said.
He has also been prepared to travel as far as need be to “ride a winner”.
On Thursday he made the unusual trek to Moree to partner two horses for prominent owner Mike Crooks. “I wouldn’t generally go to Moree, but Crooksy has been good to me and if I can help him out, I do,” he said.
The man known to his friends as “Angry” – “I don’t think it’s fair, but it’s just sort of stuck, so I go along with it,” he says — has worked hard on his fitness in recent times.
“I’m a little bit heavier than what I would like at the moment,” Stewart said. “I’m riding 55kg (Saturday) which is as light as I’ve ridden for a couple of months. Ideally I would like to be riding 54kg.”
Stewart is now managed by former jockey Mitch Speers, whose team is flying at the moment. The only rider to have ridden more winners in Australia over the past three weeks is Matt McGillivray, also managed by Speers.
Story courtesy Nathan Exelby – Brisbane Courier Mail