Once a top Sydney and Brisbane apprentice and a winner of over 650 races, Matthew Palmer has now settled roots in Scone.
The Group and Listed winning jockey is blessed with a black type pedigree, being the son of late champion jockey Garry Palmer, and his talents were evident at Scone on Tuesday, riding a race-to-race double to open proceedings.
“It was good to get a couple of winners,” Palmer said.
“It’s getting on four and half, maybe five months since I moved here and lately, I have picked up a few good rides.”
The 34-year-old has a terrific resume, riding winners all over the place, including Queensland, NSW, Darwin and Mauritius, and most notably rode 50-plus metro winners when apprentice to Tim Martin in the late 2000s.
Most recently, Palmers was based in Southeast Queensland, working on his own farm focusing on education and agistment, before a sudden change in scenery saw the freelance jockey move closer to Stephen Jones in Scone.
“I used to travel a lot, and I loved that, and recently I was based at the Gold Coast. That’s where I predominantly did my riding but in the last couple of years, I haven’t had that many race rides because my main prerogative was my kids and the spelling farm,” Palmer said.
“I shifted down here to Stephen Jones, and most of my support comes from Steve, and a lot from Mark Schmetzer, Will Freedman and basically a lot of Scone trainers – everyone has been ultra-supportive after my move.”
Palmer repaid the faith at Scone on Tuesday, helping the Mark Schmetzer trained Our Boy Malcom to a blowout win in the opening race, the 900m Maiden Plate – the four-year-old paying upwards of $61 a win.
“To be honest with you, the prices make no difference to me,” Palmer said after the win.
“I’m out there to make an impact. I ride work for Mark most mornings and he is a great mate and what he does with his horses speaks volumes and to get another win for him was fantastic.”
In the second race, Palmer then guided the Stephen Jones prepared Nadaraja to a strong victory in the 1100m Maiden Handicap, and he explained just what the win meant to him after his recent move.
“To get a win for them was awesome,” Palmer said.
“Steve and Tracey are more than a jockey/trainer relationship, they are more like family to me.
“Basically, in my time of need, they answered my call, and they brought me down here and I can’t extend more appreciation and respect for that, and I will never forget it.”
Now into the swing of things, Palmer is focused on making the best of his new opportunity, and is buoyed by a rejuvenated passion for riding.
“The main thing for me is just getting down here and making new beginnings, new connections and riding winners,” Palmer said.
“Now it’s about knuckling down, riding the limit and seeing what I can do. I haven’t been this keen since I was 18 years old. This is the most motivation I’ve had in 15 years.”
After starting the new season with wins at Narromine, Gunnedah and now a double at Scone, Palmer is keen to ‘make an impact’ under the guidance of his new manager Nathan Daniels, and he isn’t afraid of a little travel.
“I will just keep turning up. If there is a meeting, I will be there. As I have said before, I am willing to travel,” Palmer said.
“The main thing for me is that I’ve got a lot of support from a lot of main trainers, and now we are in the new season, I need to make an impact and really showcase what I am here for.
“My manager has done an absolutely exceptional job, and once again, he is more of a friend than a work colleague and we work well together.”
Palmer’s next trip will see him in action at Taree on Friday, with two rides aboard Stephen Jones’ runners Swiss Promise and Inferno Miss.
For more information on Palmer and his services, readers can call his manager Nathan Daniels on 0408693372.