Dan the man has done it again.
For the fourth time in his career, North West Queensland’s premier jockey Dan Ballard has proved himself to be Queensland Country’s premier jockey.
In the season which ended on August 1, Ballard won 54 races in 167 starts, an incredible strike rate of almost one in three that put him well ahead of the field and along with his 32 second places and 25 third place finishes earned $391,075 in prize money for the year.
It was enough to put him 19 winners clear of second placed Rockhampton based silk Pietro Romeo (35 winners) with Ballard’s fellow North West jockey Jason Babarovich third on 27.
Dan is from an illustrious racing family with dad Keith still riding winners while mum Denise trains many of Dan and Keith’s mounts.
Dan said it was the support of his parents plus his wife Lacey and daughter Lilly that he was able to rack up the winners to take out the Queensland Country Jockey's Premiership.
“Riding for wonderful trainers like Mum, Damien Finter, Tanya Parry, Mark Oates, Jim Jackson, Jay Morris and plenty of others is a real privilege and I'm thankful to them and their owners for putting their faith in me,” Ballard said. “Getting to share the ups and downs of racing with my family is very special and the tough times together helps to make the good times even better.”
Getting to share the ups and downs of racing with my family is very special
When asked by the North West Star what he put his terrific win ratio down to, he replied: “I find myself in the fortunate position of being a little bit heavier and a lot of horses are handicapped higher and they have more ability than most of their competition, dad doesn’t have the same weight restrictions I have so if mum’s got two horses in the race and one has weight and one doesn’t, I’m put on the horse with weight so I’m very spoiled in that regard.”
Ballard will now travel to the thoroughbred awards in Brisbane in September to pick up his trophy.
Before that local racegoers can see him in action at Thursday’s Mailman Express races in Mount Isa as he starts the quest towards a fifth title.
Ballard thanked all of the committees, owners and participants that help to keep country racing alive and well in our regional areas.
“It takes a lot of work to keep the wheels turning and you deserve much more credit than you get,” he said.