John Wilson eyes Condobolin Cup after winning return

After making a successful return to riding at Bedgerabong, John Wilson wants to win Saturday’s Condobolin Cup. Photo: Racing Photography.

John Wilson, known affectionately as Mabo to his mates, again created history at Bedgerabong on Saturday. 

Back in 2019, Wilson returned from a 17-year break, returning to the saddle to win the Bedgerabong Cup on the Justin Stanley-trained Wollartant, which was funnily enough the same race he last won before taking time away from racing. 

On Saturday, after nearly three years out of the racing saddle, Wilson again returned to Bedgerabong, and while he didn’t win the cup, he was again in the winner’s circle, guiding the Brett Robb-trained Bold Louise to victory in the 1100m maiden. 

“It was my first ride back again and it happened again,” Wilson laughed.

“It’s funny how it works but Bedgerabong is one of my favourite tracks and I always seem to ride a winner there.

“Every year I go there, and to Condo; I seem to have a bit of luck.”

Wilson admitted that he was still finding his bearings as far as race-riding, but he was just happy to be back out there.

“I got a bit lost out there on Saturday and knocked up but I’m loving being back and riding,” Wilson said. 

The 47-year-old is based in Dubbo these days and works fulltime for Brett Robb, and while weight had been an issue in the past, being Robb’s go-to trackwork rider meant Wilson had his weight under control.

“I work with Snow (Robb) fulltime, and I ride all of his trackwork,” Wilson said.

“We have about 30 in work and there is only two of us riding track work, so I’m riding about 14 a morning. 

“It’s good too. It’s keeping my weight down so I’m ready for races.”

On Saturday, Wilson will jump aboard four of Robb’s gallopers at Condobolin and he thought he was a chance of riding another winner or two.

“I have four for Snow on Saturday and one for Karen Lunn,” Wilson said.

“I’ll travel over with the boss, save some money and have a good day. I think Bold Louise will go close because winning form is good form.

“We thought she could win at Bedgerabong and that was the only one we were really confident with and on Saturday the same type of horses will go around, and she should go close again.”

Wilson is yet to lift the Condobolin Cup, but he hopes to change that when guiding the Dubbo galloper around in the $11,000 feature event on Saturday.

“Sipharderson is another one that should go okay. He will benefit from the run in the cup, and he is a bolter, and you can’t work him properly, but he will be better for the run and should go okay,” Wilson said.

“I have run second in it a couple of times and I need a cup winner there. It would be a good race to win and would be nice for the owners, and another win for the stable would be good.”

Condobolin is one of the more unique racecourses in NSW, with the sand-based track a ‘horses for courses’ type of circuit and Wilson indicated what type of horse was needed to win there.

“You need something that can handle the dirt and goes forward. If you get in behind them with all that sand coming back, they don’t like it,” Wilson said.

“Nearly all my rides can go forward, and I reckon that’s what we will be doing at Condo.”

As far as what the rest of the picnic season holds in store for Wilson, the veteran hoop wants to become a regular face on the picnic circuit.

“I will probably follow it around,” Wilson said. 

“I don’t know if I will go right down south but I will try and get to a lot of them, especially if I can get a few rides.

“I love riding. It’s the only job I enjoy doing. It keeps you fit, you’re outdoors, and to work with a good bunch of people keeps me happy.” 

It will be another big day of racing at Condobolin, with the club looking to continue with their recent success.

Fashions and entertainment will headline action off the track, while on course, the Inland Petroleum Condobolin Cup is the feature on the six-race-program. 

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