Clayton Gallagher brings up his 500th winner

Clayton Gallagher, pictured here on the Brett Robb-trained Simply Xtravagant, brought up his 500th win at Dubbo on Saturday. Image – Racing Photography.

At only 26, Clayton Gallagher hasn’t wasted his time getting to the 500-win milestone. 

Riding at Saturday’s Derby Day meeting at Dubbo, Gallagher received an early birthday present when sharing the moment with good friend Brett Robb, riding the Dubbo-trained All I Have ($9.50) to victory in the 1600m Class One Handicap. 

“It’s actually pretty good, and I’m pretty happy about it,” Gallagher said. 

“I knew I was on 499, and I was hoping yesterday (Saturday) I would have brought it up, and I was lucky enough that Brett put me on his, and it won. 

“I’ve known Snow (Brett Robb) most of my life while riding, so to bring up my 500th for him was good, and it was even better to do it on the home track.”

Gallagher, deemed by many trainers, owners, and punters as one of, if not the best, jockey in the Western and Central Districts, has really come into his own in recent years. 

Moree born and bred, a young Gallagher teamed up with Rodney Robb in Nyngan, and he’s since ridden 71 winners for the veteran trainer. 

Now associated with the Brett Robb yard, Gallagher has since brought up 78 winners for Rodney’s son and an incredible 149 winners for the Robb family. 

Still, his success didn’t arrive overnight, with suspensions and injuries getting in his way at different times. 

Now in a good space, he has been a model of consistency when fit and firing, and since the 2017/18 season, he’s not ridden less than 50 winners in a season, and over the past three seasons, he’s gone close to bringing up a century, booting home 86 in 2020/21, 81 in 2021/22, and 86 in 2022/23. 

 “There was a lot of work put into bringing up 500 wins and a fair bit of travelling and all that,” Gallagher said. 

“It’s pretty much all about what you’re willing to put in, especially if you want to get those good results. 

“Right now, I feel good, and I think I could be in for my best year. 

“All the injuries have passed through, and looking at where I was this time last year, some of those injuries caught up with me, but I’m keeping healthy and looking forward to keeping up the good form.”

One hundred winners in a season is Gallagher’s next goal, and with 29 victories already next to his name, he’s on the right path, sitting second in the 2023/24 NSW Country Jockey’s Premiership, trailing only Aaron Bullock (32). 

“I’m hoping to get to 100 this season,” Gallagher said. 

“Last year, I was a bit unlucky and had a bit of time on the sideline, but the goal is to stay consistent and try and get that 100.

“It’s just about consistency, showing up on the day, getting to meetings, and trying to bring up those wins.”

Rodney Robb, who was on hand for all the highs and lows during the early stages of Gallagher’s career, had nothing but praise for the in-form hoop. 

“He’s only 26, and not many have brought up 500 that quickly, but with the opportunities they get nowadays, he’s taken his chances, and he has had a good innings,” Robb said. 

“He’s a very good, strong jockey, and even when he was a kid, he was strong with a lot of talent. 

“If anything, I think he can still be better than he is, and if he really put his head down, I think he could be the best in the state.

“He’s got a big willpower to win, and there are not many riders that ride like him in the last 100m.”

Gallagher will look to continue his excellent season at Dubbo today when taking a full book of rides on the always-popular Melbourne Cup Day program.