Bullock’s lightning run continues

Aaron Bullock was all smiles after winning the Gunnedah Lightning Handicap aboard the Cody Morgan-trained Ice In Vancouver. Photo: Bradley Photos.

When Aaron Bullock is hot, he’s hot and punters are loving the Singleton-based jockey right now. 

The 31-year-old enjoyed a May to remember, riding winning doubles at Muswellbrook, Tamworth and Gunnedah. 

Capping off a sensational run of form, Bullock returned to Tamworth on Monday and saluted with a winning treble. 

He landed a double for Paul Messara when winning on Seahaven ($1.80) in the 1600m Maiden Plate and Red Boulevard ($2.15) in the 1200m Benchmark 58 Handicap. 

Bullock also rode a winner for Kristen Buchanan when guiding Oakfield Storm ($2.70) to a good victory in the 1400m Benchmark 58 Handicap. 

The Tumut product said landing a treble and capping off one of his best months in the saddle was a good reminder of why he loved the sport of thoroughbred racing. 

“It is good going there and getting the job done,” Bullock said. 

“Half the time I’m on horses short in the market, and they don’t always win but it definitely makes it all worth it when you get a few winners and have a good day. 

“Some days get tough, but those good days are the days that make it worthwhile and remind you why you do it all.” 

Bullock then came out at Port Macquarie today, and you guessed it, the in-form jockey rode another winning double. 

He combined with his boss Kris Lees to win the 1506m Maiden Handicap aboard Zippy Power ($2.05) before taking out the 2006m Benchmark 58 Handicap on the Jason Deamer-trained Decadent Tale ($4.20).

Bullock is in a good place with his riding, but he admitted that it was always a battle with his fluctuating weight. 

“Things are going good right now,” Bullock said. 

“The riding is the easy part, but as everyone knows, having my weight right is the hard part.” 

Bullock, who walks around at 60kg on any given day, said age and wisdom have allowed him to get better control of his weight, with the champion country hoop getting down to a riding weight of 56kg during the recent Country Championships. 

“I got down to 56kg for The Championships, but I’m now sitting comfortably at 57kg or 57.5kg and as I’m getting older, it seems to be getting easier,” Bullock laughed. 

“I am a bit more disciplined, and those temptations and distractions are not there like they once were. 

“I do my track work, racing and try not to get suspended, and that seems to be a good routine.” 

“Plus, when you get older, you’re not having 10 blokes calling you up for dinner, and you don’t have as many weekend dos, and for me, I have been able to get into a routine and stick to it, and that has made a huge difference.” 

Bullock loves to win country feature races, and in the past, he explained to the NSW Country and Picnic Racing that he has a goal to win as many as possible before he eventually retires. 

On Saturday at Gunnedah, he was able to add another trophy to the cabinet, when taking out the Gunnedah Lightning Handicap aboard the Cody Morgan-trained Ice In Vancouver. 

Starting $1.80 favourite in the $32,000 feature, Bullock took Ice In Vancouver to the lead before winning comfortably in the 1000m event. 

“He has all the ability in the world,” Bullock said.
“His great attribute is that he can begin well and he has a high cruising speed and can quicken of it too. Not many horses can do that.” 

Bullock has been locked in as Ice In Vancouver’s go-to jockey as Morgan begins preparing for bigger feature races this preparation, including next month’s $75,000 Sir James Kirby Quality at Grafton. 

“He (Cody Morgan) actually rang me this morning (Wednesday) and got my thoughts on where to go with him,” Bullock said. 

“He has been plagued with injuries, but they haven’t been letting him down; it’s more because when he travels, he doesn’t eat up. 

“Cody has a plan though, and what he is going to do is the same plan as last year and I will be riding him in a sprint at Tamworth in a few weeks. 

“Then he is going to send him over to Grafton and give him two and three weeks there before the (Sir James) Kirby at Grafton.”

The $1 million The Kosciuszko, which will be run and won in October, is also on the cards and Bullock believes the Tamworth galloper is one of the best sprinters in country NSW.
“There are not many horses in the bush that can sprint like him, and I know that for a fact because I ride most of the good ones,” Bullock laughed. 

“It’s hard with The Kosciuszko, because horses have to be in form, whether they are the best horse or not doesn’t matter sometimes, and it’s always about who is winning a month or two out from the race. 

“Hopefully Cody can have Ice In Vancouver going good leading into The Kosciusko and if he gets a spot again, there is no doubting he will be a big chance.” 

While Bullock will be dreaming of bigger and better races in 2022, the in-form hoop is always keeping an eye on the NSW jockey’s premiership. 

Despite a disrupted start to the 2021/22 season, Bullock is riding as well as ever, booting home 74 winners this season at a strike rate of 18.2 percent. 

During the year, Bullock has won connections over $1.7 million in prizemoney, riding 68 country winners on top of his 6 provincial victories. 

Following back-to-back 100-plus winning seasons in 2020 (102) and 2021 (106), Bullock is confident he can ride 26 winners over the next two months to reach the century mark again. 

“I don’t ever aim for 1000 rides a year, but I always want to try and ride 100 winners,” Bullock said. 

“I know if I can knuckle down for the next eight weeks, I can get to that 100 and hopefully ride a couple of Country Cups, because as we know, that is my favourite thing to do.” 

Bullock is off to Dubbo on Friday, and he has a chance to add to his season tally and potentially add another country feature trophy to his growing collection. He will take seven rides on the day, and he jumps aboard the Kris Lees-trained Spanish Point in the transferred $100,000 Wellington Cup.