In-form Aaron Bullock sets his sights on Mudgee Cup

Aaron Bullock, who rode five winners at Muswellbrook last Friday, will be out to win the Mudgee Cup on the Kris Lees-trained Kedah. Photo: Muswellbrook Race Club.

Aaron Bullock made history at Muswellbrook on Friday with the Tumut product booting home an incredible five winners.

According to the 32-year-old, ‘everything just clicked’ as he won for five different trainers, making the rare feat all the more impressive. 

“I couldn’t believe it. I have ridden four before, but never have I got five home, and well I got to three, then four, and I thought there was no chance I’d win the last,” Bullock said. 

“Getting five has always sort of evaded me, but now I’ve done it, I will have to raise the bar and try and go for six.”

After wins on Seahaven (Paul Messara, $2.35), Remember Jack (Stephen Jones, $4.20), Jumeirah Beach (Richard and Will Freedman, $2), and Depth That Varies (Kristen Buchanan, $2.80), Bullock landed his fifth winner in the final event on the program, winning the 1280m Benchmark 66 Handicap on the Lou Mary-trained Royal Charge ($4.20). 

“It was such a good feeling. When I got to the front and with a furlong to go, I knew I had it won, and apart from my first win, it’s the best feeling I’ve had in the saddle,” Bullock said.

“That last 10 seconds; it was such a special feeling and something I’ll never forget.”

Bullock followed up his Muswellbrook effort with a win at Taree on Monday and a treble at Tamworth on Tuesday, booting home a double for Paul Messara on The Hungarian ($4.60) and Unzaga ($1.40), while landing a winner for his boss Kris Lees when on Powerful Peg ($3.50).

If that wasn’t enough, he was in action at Coffs Harbour today and he guided the Lees-trained Show Me Your Love $1.24) to a good win in the 1500m Class One Handicap.

As a result of his terrific recent form, Bullock is currently seventh on the NSW jockey’s premiership, having won 35 races in 2022/23, earning connections $776,145 in prizemoney in the process, while riding at an attractive strike rate of 25.90%, which is second only to NSW’s leading jockey James McDonald (26%). 

When riding in the country, Bullock is a punter’s best friend, with the sixth-ranked hoop winning at a stunning 32% strike rate, having booted home 32 victories in just 100 starts. 

For context, the state’s leading country hoop, Ben Looker has booted home 10 more winners but only at a strike rate of 15.7%.

When asked about his recent form, Bullock said it all came back to balance and keeping fit and firing. 

“I’ve cut back a bit with trackwork, especially when I am going to the races,”: Bullock said.

“It wears you out doing trackwork before races, and I’ve done it for most of my career, but I don’t push myself to go in on race mornings and that seems to be helping me a lot more.”

Like a fine wine, Bullock is getting better with age, and after booting home 102 winners in the 2019/20 season, 106 winners in the 2020/21 season, and 92 winners in the 2021/22 season, who knows what the future holds.

“I feel great. It’s funny, someone said to me years ago that ‘you won’t get to your peak until your thirties’, and I have a feeling he is spot on,” Bullock said. 

“I have had a good career so far, but I feel I can only get better as I get further along, and as long as I can keep on top of my weight, I believe I am in a good space, and I will aim to keep riding well and improving all the time.

“That’s the thing with me; I’m never really satisfied, and it might be a weird thing to say, but I am always striving for more, and you need to in this game because if you stop and drop the ball, there is someone always there to pick it up and run with it”

Following four rides at Coffs Harbour on Thursday, Bullock is off to Mudgee on Friday, and is looking forward to racing on one of his favourite surfaces, 

“They seem to have it back to a good condition and I love it out there on Mudgee Cup day, it would be right up there as one of my favourites with the Scone Cup,” Bullock said

Bullock is on a live chance when jumping aboard the Kris Lees-trained Kedah ($6.50) in the $75,000 Mudgee Cup. 

“She will roll forward from there, and I feel that is the way she has been doing her best racing,” Bullock said. 

She is one of those horses; you just need to go with her, and she has been going well in track work and she is as tough as nails.

“If anything, she is racing in career-best form for an older horse, and I have looked at her working and even walking around, and she has never looked better, and I expect her to run a big race.”

Friday’s Mudgee Cup jumps at 4.54pm, and for full fields, click here

Tips, trials and tribulations

Race One: 9 Passionate Rebel – $2.25

Very nice trial winner in town. He appears to be primed first-up and there is already some early support.

Race Two: 2 Blue Guitar – $4.20

Impressive winner last start at Newcastle. This is a good draw and he looks suited on a good track and in this event.

Race Three: 6 Turnaway – $6

There was some hype around this maiden when trained down south. Gets a chance to show his true colours in the strong Cam Crockett yard.

Race Four: 3 Single Touch – $10

Tony Newing has a habit of travelling to these meetings with good success and if his galloper runs up to his recent third at Gosford, he will be tough to beat. The only concern is the wide barrier.

Race Five: 3 Volterra – $11

Ultra-impressive two starts back when breaking the Gundagai track record. The draw is kind, the jockey is red-hot, and the stable is firing. Best value bet on the program.

Race Six: 10 Morgenstern – $2.70

The Dubbo galloper keeps getting better and better. It’s hard to look past three wins on the trot and he has proven himself on a good track and in open class in recent starts. Best bet.

Race Seven: 6 Awesome Lad – $3.80

Looks to be the class runner of the field and if you go back to his second in a big field at Rosehill Gardens in late October, you will see why he has been well-supported into favourite. The distance is the only concern, especially if he gets pressured throughout.

Race Eight: 12 The Chosen One – $8.50

This looks a nice race for a talented but luckless galloper. Gate four is a good draw with money about, and it appears Grant Buckley will have every chance in the ‘get out’ stakes.