Leading NSW picnic jockey Maddy Wright has kicked off the 2020/21 NSW Picnic Racing Association season in fine style at Gilgandra Jockey Club on Saturday, booting home a hat trick of winners.
The leading amateur hoop from the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons couldn’t have asked for a better start either, winning the opening event on the six-race-card that was named after her.
Wright rode the well named Lucky Champion for John Rolfe in the 800m Gilmour Engineering – Picnic jockey premiership 2019-20 winner Maddison Wright Class B Handicap.
“(It’s) not something I have done before. I was quietly confident that Lucky Champion would be able to pull it off for me,’ Wright said.
“A few lucky stars were in our favour. I knew he would have good speed from barrier one and he has great 3rd up form. I really wanted to win the first and the last so the day couldn’t have turned out any better.”
Wright also went on to win aboard Scarpa for Rodney Robb in the 1280m Class B Handicap, while the popular jockey also gave Brett Robb his first winner as a trainer, when On A Promise greeted the judge first in the 1550m Open Trophy Handicap.
Wright also rode two second placings, making it a very successful debut at the Gilgandra Jockey Club.
“It was fun! I have never ridden at Gilgandra,” Wright said.
“But it was a nice little track. I love riding on tracks with short straights, I seem to have a lot of luck on them (and) It’s been a while since I have ridden a treble, so it was good little confidence booster.”
The annual picnic season, that would usually kick off at Lockhart this weekend, has looked very different in recent times, with NSW Health and Racing NSW Covid-19 guidelines still making it hard for traditional picnic meetings to go ahead.
Still, Wright is aiming to make it three straight jockey’s premierships, although she envisioned it would be an open competition for top spot.
“I think meetings will be limited with Covid, so I would like to get to them all,” Wright laughed.
“It’s hard to say if I could win it. I think it’s anyone’s this year and the dynamic of the picnics has really changed.”
Wright did feel for picnic clubs though but hoped meetings would be more popular than ever once racing returned to normal.
“I don’t think the picnic clubs can physically hold a meeting and survive. Hence why they have all been cancelled but once crowds are back, I think it will be bigger and better than ever!