Grant Buckley looked at home in the Tamworth winner’s circle on Monday, booting home three winners from just four rides and bookending the seven-race-program.
The 47-year-old opened his account when guiding the Tracey Bartley trained Senseiche to victory in the 1200m Maiden Handicap.
The popular country jockey then won aboard the Tim McIntosh trained, Discompose, in the 1000m Maiden Plate before winning the last on the card, the 1200m Class Three Handicap, aboard the Rod Northam prepared, Joey’s Chance.
“I take any win these days,” Buckley laughed.
“It’s so competitive today. There are so many good riders, so it is very good to be riding winners.”
Buckley was left rueing a missed opportunity to win four races on the program, with one of his better chances scratched.
“It was a bit unfortunate that Will Freedman scratched his horse (Circularity). I think it was a big chance and I think it would have been four winners,” Buckley said.
“Apart from that, I’m still happy to have had four rides and three wins.”
The veteran jockey of more than 2600 winners and countless rides believed Tamworth can be a tricky place to ride, and he admitted that he learned from the best during his years riding there.
“It’s the sort of track you really have to know. I probably learned a lot from riding with Greg Ryan there,” Buckley said.
“He was a master of that track and I watched him, and Benny Looker, who is also a good rider on the track, and I just fed of them after watching both of them ride a lot of winners there.”
Buckley, who is considered by most racing pundits as one of the hardest workers and most successful country jockeys in NSW, has spent many years, riding with and against, and watching some of the best jockeys in the state, and he believed that there were three that stood out during his career.
“I’ve ridden with some good jockeys, but you probably can’t go past RT (Robert Thompson), Greg Ryan and Matty Cahill,” Buckley said.
“Those three riders could go anywhere and win.”
These days, Buckley is considered one of elder statesman on the country racing scene, and with many up-and-coming hoops to compete with, he was happy for his experience to give him the competitive edge he needed.
“I probably don’t think of me being one of those older guys. I think of being competitive and trying to win,” Buckley said.
“Those younger blokes are such good riders. You need to keep up with them and what helps me is that I’ve ridden on so many country tracks and I know those tracks inside and out and that is a big advantage.”
Buckley will hope to continue his good form, and he believes the help of new manager, Drew Smith, has him tracking in the right direction.
“I’ve only had my new manager for a little while. I swapped managers and picked up Drew Smith and his attention to detail helps. He picks the eyes out of them and works hard,” Buckley said.
“The way he approaches people and trainers; he is just very helpful. I haven’t had him for very long but I’m rapt with what I’m seeing.”
Buckley is off to Newcastle today, and while he didn’t want to give too much away about his chances, he expressed his gratitude in still being able to ride in races.
“It’s good to be riding there and riding in general,” Buckley said.