It was a big day at Bathurst on Tuesday for apprentice jockey Zac Wadick.
The 19-year-old travelled to the Central West for two rides, and left a winner, guiding home the David Smith-trained Lockdown Gamble to victory in the 1300m Class One Handicap.
It was a significant win for Wadick, who outrode his four-kilogram claim at what was only his 32nd career start, whilst also winning a heat of the Rising Start Series at his first attempt.
“That was the first (Rising Star Series) race I’ve been in, and I was excited to finally be in one and to win it,” Wadick said.
“David Smith has given me a few opportunities before, and I was really happy to get the ride and win the race for him too.”
Wadick and Lockdown Gamble won comfortably in the end, after sitting second for most of the journey behind Arimathea before finding the front to pull away for a very easy 3.7 lengths victory.
“It worked out well for me,” Wadick said.
“The idea was to sit outside the leader, and we expected Arimathea to go forward, and she went as hard as we expected, and it helped us along.
“He was travelling well throughout the run. He is a nice big strong horse and with the strong pace, it played into our hands and when he balanced up, I took him to the front, and I knew it was our race from that point.”
Wadick outrode some of the best apprentices in NSW at Bathurst, and he believed the Rising Star Series was a good way for apprentices to compete against each other.
“It is a good addition to the racing calendar. It offers plenty of opportunities to apprentices, especially ones that are starting out,” Wadick said.
“The results are on the Racing NSW website, and it gives us a cool little competition and it is definitely something I want to be a part of.
Based in Sydney with the Mark Newnham stable, Wadick is just happy to be back riding on a regular basis, with the Covid-19 pandemic putting a brief stop to his career in the saddle during 2021.
The youngster won his first race at Nowra back in July, helping his boss to a win with Formeinaway
After only 11 starts, Wadick was forced to stay in Sydney from July, only riding trackwork during the peak of the pandemic, until returning to race riding in October.
“It was a tough road in 2021 because of Covid and everything in town,” Wadick said.
“My riding was off and on, and I had to take four months off when everything was locked down.
“My boss needed me to do trackwork and had no one else and I had to bite the bullet and put the riding career away for a few months.
“Then we came back, and mum tested positive (to Covid) and I was living with her and that led to another break.”
Since returning, Wadick has landed winners at Orange, Mudgee and Bathurst, and he was looking forward to more opportunities in 2022.
“We are through that now, and one thing my boss and manager Wayne Harris assured me was, that Rome wasn’t built in a day and that I would get my opportunities,” Wadick said.
“It was a good learning experience, and I couldn’t be in a better camp and could be happier.
“I’ve been here for just over two years. I just started off working on the ground and doing track work and Mark has taught me everything I know and I’m so grateful for that.”
The young hoop will hope to add to his Rising Star Series win at Newcastle on Saturday, with the now three-kilogram claimer set to ride Belrose Express for Joel and Wayne Wilkes and Highest Standard for William Freedman.