Footballers would equate jockey Shane Jackson’s task with coming out of retirement for a Grand Final.
Jackson retired from race riding after the Jericho Cup meeting in November last year but has decided to return to the saddle once more to ride Bit Of A Lad, part-owned by Brisbane Lions legend Jonathan Brown, in Thursday’s Grand Annual Steeplechase (5500m).
The Grand Annual is Australia’s longest race and is gruelling on jockeys are it is on horses. But Jackson said he only thought about riding in the $350,000 race for a few seconds once he received the offer from the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace camp.
“He ran a great race in the Brierly (Steeplechase on Tuesday) and he’ll only be fitter for that so he’s a great chance on Thursday,” Jackson said.
“I’ve won a couple of features on him so I know the horse well and I still know all the jumps horses and form even though I haven’t been riding them.”
However, Jackson said his return to race riding would be a brief one.
Bit Of A Lad (right) fighting out the finish during his win in the 2019 Brierly Steeplechase. (Photo: Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images
Jackson retired to become an assistant trainer at the Lindsey Smith stable. He said he had no plans to go back on the jumps racing circuit around Victoria.
“This is only for one ride but it’s in a great race,” Jackson said.
“I won the last two Corrigan Medals so I just thought I wanted to go out on top and the time was right.
“I’m very happy with my decision but was hard to say no to the chance to ride in another Annual in front of the big crowds.
“I got a bit jaded riding around the smaller meetings but I suppose the adrenaline kicked in.”
TAB.com.au has Bit Of A Lad as the $3.80 favourite in early betting on the Grand Annual Steeplechase.
Bit Of A Lad has finished fourth in the last two editions of the Grand Annual.
Originally published asJackson out of retirement for Annual
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