Boom apprentice Zac Wadick links with Brad Widdup

Zac Wadick is set to join the Brad Widdup team at Hawkesbury. Image – Bradley Photos.

Zac Wadick’s fairy-tale rise through the NSW jockey ranks will continue into the New Year, with the apprentice set to join the Brad Widdup team at Hawkesbury.

Currently indentured to Glen Milligan in Taree, the young hoop, who’s outridden his country claim, booting home 84 winners to date, has fast become one of the most exciting prospects in country NSW.

The 21-year-old is excited to join the Widdup team, and he explained that outgoing NSW Jockey’s coach Corey Brown made it all possible.

“I’ll finish up with Glen and transfer to Brad on the 27th (of December), Wadick confirmed with NSW Country and Picnic Racing

“Corey Brown organised for me to go to Glen in the first place, and that was nearly two years ago, and when it was coming up that I was about to out-ride my country claim, Corey got in touch and spoke about it, and he recommended Brad’s as the best place to go.

“I took his advice with Glen, and that worked out well, so I decided to use his guidance and see what it was like with Brad.”

After a meet and greet at Hawkesbury, Wadick was sold on the move. 

“I actually went down there this time last week, and I was there for a couple of days, riding a bit of work, doing some trials, and getting a feel for the stable,” Wadick said. 

“I got a feel for the whole place and the facility there; it is a proper set-up.

“I chatted with Brad a few times and left there thinking I could really make the transition.”

Still, it won’t be easy leaving Milligan, who has done a fantastic job moulding the youngster into the jockey he is today.

“Glen has been my driving force, and I have been with him since I moved up to the country,” Wadick said. 

“With him, my partner (Niqui Hughes), and her family, they have given me a lot of support and the confidence to push through.” 

While Milligan has always been ‘more than a boss’ to Wadick, he admitted that there were some turbulent times, and particular moments that helped him grow into a better apprentice.  

“As I’ve said before, he is more of a father figure and friend,” Wadick said. 

“He’s been through it all, even in the tough times when I put in bad performances on the track.

“The one thing about Glen is that he doesn’t sugar coat things, and there was a time when I didn’t like what I was hearing, and being immature, I maybe got defensive and forgot how to take constructive criticism. 

“I remember taking that week off for a bit of self-reflection, and I decided to stick with it. I didn’t change camps or spit the dummy, and I just came back with a new frame of mind, which made a big difference.”

While he’s had no country claim since late October, Wadick has continued to make his mark, riding winners at Newcastle and Canterbury in recent weeks. 

Teaming up with Kim Waugh at Canterbury on December 8, the youngster even brought up his first metropolitan victory, guiding Oxford Vision ($15) to a good win in the 1100m Benchmark 72 Handicap. 

“It’s been so exciting, and I never expected it,” Wadick said, 

“Talking to my manager (Aaron Ison), we weren’t expecting much to begin with and were ready for a big dip in my results regarding rides and wins.

“We’ve only been poking away for the last few weeks but strung together a few wins and placings, and I couldn’t be happier.”. 

With the world at his feet, Wadick is dreaming big but keeping both feet on the ground. 

“I know I am going there a bit late, but I’d like to make a run for the provincial (apprentice) jockey’s premiership, and that will be a big goal next season,” Wadick said. 

“Then, at the start of next season, we’ll see where I’m at, but I’d like to start making my mark on the metro racing scene.” 

Before his big move to Widdup, Wadick will look to go out on a winning note at home, taking five rides at Taree on Sunday before making things official at Newcastle on Tuesday and Gosford on Thursday.