Belinda Wright will venture from Mornington to Wagga on Friday then to Tottenham picnics on Saturday, taking three rides, before heading back to Victoria on Sunday to ride at Woolamai picnics, covering almost 2000 kilometres in the process.
The 29-year-old, who works with Shane Nichols in Victoria, said she was making the long trip for the love of race riding and for the opportunities.
“I ride at the picnics down in Victoria, but it is really hard to get opportunities here,” Wright said.
“I had my first race meeting in Victoria at Dederang last year and I rode both for Scott Spackman and they both won, and I thought I would have a good start and get rides, but I’ve struggled ever since.”
Wright, who not long ago was a popular apprentice jockey in the Southern Districts and South East of NSW, said she loves returning to NSW whenever she gets the chance.
“In NSW, I get opportunities and it is such a good atmosphere,” Wright said.
“Now Covid isn’t stopping us coming over (the border), I can take advantage and I’m getting good books of rides.”
It will be a long trek to Wagga on Friday before heading to Tottenham for three rides and then back to Victoria on Sunday, and she admitted it was tough at times with all the travel.
“I’m in Mornington, but I drive up home to Wagga on a Friday afternoon and normally stay there with the family for the weekend and I’m back at trackwork on a Monday.
“It’s a bit different this weekend because I’m riding at Woolamai on Sunday, and it is a bit of a balancing act, but I love riding.”
The Victorian picnic racing season ends soon, while the NSW picnic season starts to heat up and Wright envisioned many more trips across the border.
“The Victorian season ends in April, and only goes for six months and doesn’t start up again until November, so I’ll focus on NSW meetings until then,” Wright said.
The popular hoop, who is working hard ahead of a potential return to the professionals, joked that she was struggling to make weight, but only because she was so light.
“I’m walking around at 51kg and I’m struggling to make the minimum riding weight and I’m riding in a 7kg saddle, which is unheard of,” Wright laughed.
If Wright does return to her apprenticeship, she said she would likely kick off again in NSW.
“I work for Shane Nichols, and really enjoy working for him and to be honest, he is the main reason I’m still working in Victoria,” Wright said.
“I think I will come back to NSW soon. I started off there, I know a lot of trainers there, and I have a lot of contacts and friends there.
“I probably would have come back already, but I’m competing in a body building competition in May, and my thought process was that I would move back to NSW after that and start then, but I still have to work a few things out.”
As far as taking on Tottenham on Saturday, Wright said it would be a first and she believed her ride in the Tottenham Cup aboard Nepenthes was her best chance of landing a winner.
“I have never ridden at Tottenham before and it is going to be my first time but I’m looking forward to it,” Wright said.
“Clint’s (Lundholm) horse (Nepenthes) in the cup looks my best chance; she has run second the last few starts, and she is drawn ideal and you can’t get much better than that.”
Readers wanting to check out Wright’s chances at the Tottenham meeting can click here.