COUNTRY Premiership Jockey Dan Ballard picked up his latest honour at the Thoroughbred Racing Awards in Brisbane last weekend.
For the fourth time in his career, Mount Isa jockey Dan Ballard has been named Queensland Country’s premier jockey.
“It feels good. Premierships are a result of having a consistent season and I am glad I have been able to keep a high standard throughout the year," Mr Ballard said.
“That is what you set out to do – to be consistent and to ride well and it is nice to have received the premiership at the end of that.”
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.
Mr Ballard is from an illustrious racing family with dad Keith still riding winners while mum Denise trains many of Dan and Keith’s mounts.
“Mum does a great job of not only the main stable I ride for but she also manages my rides and she does an excellent job at working out what is going to give me the best chance of winning every race.
“Dad has had an extremely successful career over 50 years, he has ridden nearly 1700 winners and ridden feature races in Darwin and Townsville. So while I will probably never scale the heights that he had, I try to live up to the standard he has set.
Mr Ballard 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.
Racing minister Stirling Hinchliffe congratulated Mr Ballard on his win
“Queensland’s racing industry is packed with talent and this was on full display at last weeks’s awards,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
Mr Ballard is riding at Richmond on Saturday and Julia Creek the following weekend, before returning to Mount Isa for the popular Spring Cup on October 6.
“It is going to be a qualifier for Racing Queensland’s Country Cup series so the Spring Cup itself will b a really strongly contested race,” he said.
“It is shaping up as though it will be perfect weather and some really strong fields, so hopefully a great day.”
Mr Ballard, who is also the Mount Isa Race Club president, said the club was expecting to have new barriers and running rails installed in time for the Cup.