Everything Clayton Gallagher touched at Nyngan on Monday turned to gold, with the prominent country jockey riding four winners on the Anzac Day program.
In a terrific day at the races, Gallagher added the cherry on top, taking out the Nyngan Cup when guiding the Brett Robb-trained Rylan’s Pick to victory in the $14,000 feature race.
The Dubbo galloper was tough as nails according to Gallagher, leading all the way when just beating home the Rodney Robb-trained Rogue Runner (Jake Barrett) in second, while the Wayne Marsden-trained Allez Rev (Zara Lewis) finished third.
“He jumped, and crossed from the wide barrier, had nice sections, and in the final stages, he was on a flat leg, but he was a very tough horse until the end, and he fought on and got the job done,” Gallagher said.
Rylan’s Pick nearly didn’t race at Nyngan, with connections originally considering sending the four-year-old to the paddock for a spell, but the decision to race proved a smart one.
“We thought he was at the end of his prep, but he is tough, and he dug deep for that win,” Gallagher said.
“He is going to have a spell now. He has had a good preparation and certainly paid his way, and he will go to the paddock and hopefully come back a lot better.”
Gallagher rode a treble for Robb, helping Drunkasamonkey to victory in the 1400m Maiden Plate, while also guiding Legal Zou to a good win in the 1100m Class One Handicap.
“I’ve had a lot of successful rides for Brett, and we go a long way back, and to come out and ride winners for him definitely means a lot,” Gallagher said.
Gallagher’s best win was in the first race though, when steering the Kylie Kennedy-trained Padrone to a five-length victory in the 900m Maiden Plate.
“He has always been an honest horse in his racing, and he put his best foot forward at Nyngan, and he was very impressive,” Gallagher said.
Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t the first time Gallagher had ridden four winners at a meeting, with the country product having accomplished the same feat at Louth back in 2019.
“When I first returned back from Brisbane, I rode four at Louth at what was my first meeting back in the country,” Gallagher said.
“I haven’t ridden four in a day since Louth, but it was nice to do it at Nyngan.”
At times, it was tough going at Nyngan, and Gallagher said it took tactics and a lot of luck to land four winners.
“It was sort of luck of the draw,” Gallagher said.
“I was quite confident in my rides, and I thought it was the best book of rides I’ve had in some time but the way the track was playing, it was 50/50 whether horses would handle it, so it came down to tactics and horses getting through the heavy sand.”
Gallagher will hope to continue a good week in the saddle when riding the Bryan Dixon-trained Ecker Road in the 1300m Diggers Cup at Narromine on Thursday.
He has a good record in the race too, having won the feature event twice before, most recently taking it out in 2020 when combining with Brett Robb to win aboard A Magic Zariz,
“He (Ecker Road) has always been consistent with his form, and he has had apprentices on his back, and Bryan is a bloke who loves to use apprentices, but I think with a senior rider on his back and an experienced rider, he should be really competitive,” Gallagher said.
“He is very consistent and to take out three Diggers Cups would be special; I have only ridden in it twice and taken it out twice and it would be a big thrill to win it a third time.”