After serving out a seven-meeting suspension for careless riding charges, one of the country’s most consistent jockeys Damian Browne jumped back in the saddle at Ipswich last Saturday and is ready to continue on this weekend at Eagle Farm, the hoop looking forward to a strong book of rides including being aboard She Rules in the Tattersall’s Tiara.
Browne was slapped with dual bans last month, but resumed racing in fine style last Saturday with a winning double having taken out the QTIS 2YO Handicap with the Gillian Heinrich-trained Internal Revenue and then the Listed Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) with multiple winner Adnocon.
He enjoyed more success at Doomben on Wednesday, building his momentum after three weeks off with the Robert Heathcote-trained Tail And All winning a 3YO Maiden.
It seems despite the suspension, Browne has rediscovered his form in time for the final Group 1 showdown of the season, the $500,000 Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm this Saturday.
“It’s not something I normally have a problem with,” Browne said in regards to his drama with the stewards.
“Obviously it’s (carelessness) is something I have to try and iron out of my riding.
“A lot of the trouble I get is going into the first corner, which is a problem I never had riding in the opposite direction.
“I have a bad habit of just shaving them (the other horses) when I come across, trying to be easy on my horse and not go too hard.
“I’m not blaming the stewards, if you do the crime you do the time.
“I think I’ve been in a couple of 50-50 calls that have gone against me, but in the past I’ve had a few of those go my way too, so you can’t whinge when you cop a couple.”
In the race formally known as the Winter Stakes, Browne is engaged to ride the Alan Jones-trained Kiwi She Rules.
The five-year-old Commands mare is an $81 roughie in the Tatt’s Tiara markets lead by Peter Snowden’s Group 1 Doomben 10,000 victor Beaded.
Although grateful for tomorrow’s Group 1 ride, Browne knows that his recent run-in with the Queensland Racing stewards cost him a number of earlier black-type chances over the Brisbane Winter Carnival.
“I won two or three Group races leading up and looked to have genuine chances in most of the Group 1 races,” he admitted.
“Missing three of the main days I lost my chance at those.
“As it turns out in the results, I fortunately didn’t miss any.
“It was disappointing to spend so much time on the sideline.”
Drawn in the extreme outside gate of 15, She Rules faces a tough task tomorrow as she backs up from a third-place finish over 1200m at Caloundra on June 3.
“Obviously not riding a Group 1 winner this season is disappointing because you want to be in the firing line in those races as much as you can,” Browne said, not brimming with confidence for the Tatt’s Tiara ride.
As well as racing in the headline event on the eight-race Eagle Farm card on Saturday, Browne also has four other rides lined up.
One of his best chances to re-enter the winner’s stall is aboard Mystical Grey in the opening race, the $50,000 Hamilton Hotel Handicap (1400m).
Despite being the 59.5kg top-weight of the field, Craig Stott’s well-bred Encosta De Lago six-year-old Mystical Grey is one of the clear favourites as they seek their fourth consecutive win.
In February the gallant grey easily defeated a quality field over the mile at Caloundra by five lengths, then returned to the Sunshine Coast with another devastating five length victory on May 22.
Last start Mystical Grey stepped up in class and came out on top to win the Listed Spear Chief Handicap (1500m) at Eagle Farm on June 4, albeit carrying a much easier 53kg.
Browne’s other prized ride on Saturday will be in the $175,000 W.J. Healy Stakes (1200m) aboard the Peter Snowden-trained Pinwheel, stablemate to Tatt’s Tiara favourite Beaded who Browne was disappointed not to have got a chance to ride.
“It’s a privilege to ride for (Darley) and the quality horses they’ve got, so I’m thankful to get the opportunity,” he said.
Rated a strong chance against Robert Heathcote’s favourite, Stradbroke Handicap fourth placegetter Buffering, Lonhro five-year-old Pinwheel resumes after a six week break, before which they finished a game third behind Lone Rock in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on May 8.