Owen ‘looking forward’ after winning return

Billy Owen was back in the winner’s circle after guiding the Danielle Seib-trained Hemmerle to victory in the 1425m Benchmark 58 Handicap at Moruya. Photo: Bradley Photos.

Billy Owen explained that a reality check and a new lease on life has him feeling good and ‘looking forward’ after returning to the saddle last week following a six-month spell on the sidelines.

“When I was off, I got advice off someone, and it was only a month before I came back to racing and I’m really lucky that I took it on board,” Owen said. 

“They said, ‘don’t look back; you’re not going that way’, and since then it’s totally changed my mindset.

“I needed that little bit of a reality check. I told myself not to think about good or bad things, and you can sort of block it out and leave that worry alone.

“Hopefully I can keep looking and moving forward and let my results speak for itself and not anything from my past.”

Owen hadn’t been sighted at the races since riding a winning-double at Narrandera in July of last year, with the Brungle hoop explaining it was a mixture of suspensions and injuries keeping him out of the saddle for an extended period.

“My first two weeks after Narrandera I was suspended for careless riding and just before I was meant to come back, I hurt my knee in the gym and was out for another month,” Owen explained. 

“Then I obviously got the three months Covid suspension while I was off, then had that tumble and broke my shoulder. It happened on a pony out on the farm and it was a freak accident.”

Following his shoulder injury, Owen returned to racing at Canberra on Wednesday, guiding the Neil Osborne-trained Call Me Artie to second in the 1600m Benchmark 60 Handicap. 

The very next day, Owen travelled to Moruya for just one ride, jumping aboard the Danielle Seib-trained Hemmerle when winning the 1425m Benchmark 58 Handicap. 

“It would have been good winning on Call Me Artie because they are really good mates of mine and it was nearly the perfect way to come back,” Owen said. 

“The next day Danielle called me, and she was quietly confident; the horse hadn’t won for a while and he got a soft run and powered through that heavy track and it was good to win.

“I felt great and it was good to see the horse win for connections and Danielle.”

Owen said his focus was now on his fitness and getting more rides. 

“I wouldn’t be out riding if I didn’t think I could do my best,” Owen answered when asked about his shoulder injury.

“It will be two or three weeks until I get my full fitness back, and not just with my shoulder, but with everything.”

Owen believed a win so early on after his long-awaited return to riding took the pressure off him, and he hoped to get down to 57kg in the coming weeks. 

“After missing out on winning with Call Me Artie, I thought it might take a couple of weeks to get my first one, but getting that first win was great and it means there is no need to think about anything and just move on and go about my business,” Owen said. 

“I will keep riding and working hard and I hope to have my weight back down to 57kg in two weeks’ time.”

If winning at Moruya wasn’t enough for Owen during his return to the race track, the 29-year-old was again in the winner’s circle at Queanbeyan on Monday.

Jumping aboard the Tara and Philippe Vigouroux-trained Black Banjo, Owen landed a comfortable victory in the 1600m Maiden Plate. 

Owen will be back in action at Wagga today, jumping aboard the Nick Olive-trained Jack The Brumby in the 1800m Benchmark 66 Handicap and the Clint Lundholm-prepared Sons Of Bourke in the 1200m.