Jasen hopes run will continue
By GREG WHITE
THE best "colt" in Coffs Harbour racing is still pinching himself after his fairytale run of success during winter.
Jasen Watkins by his own admission has been "having a ball", thanks mainly to a Victorian trainer named Jim Jarvis and a horse called Mr Gold Fire, the Coffs Cup winner.
"Goldie is off in the paddock having a holiday and I suppose, I'm having a working holiday," Watkins said while preparing for today's Tradelink raceday at Coffs.
Unless suspended, country jockeys don't get much in the way of breaks and Watkins is the same.
But after months of the relentless grind and punishment of keeping his weight down, the city's top rider is giving himself a few luxuries.
"This week I've allowed myself a steak and a beer," he laughed.
"I haven't taken any rides under 54kg to give the body a chance to recuperate.
"The warmer weather gives me a chance to keep the weight stable."
That could change nearer to Christmas if Watkins heads to Victoria for Mr Gold Fire's return to racing.
"Jim wants me to stick with the horse and is mapping a plan of attack for summer," he said.
Possible targets include the $151,000 Bagot Handicap (LR) at Flemington on New Year's Day.
"That would be an ideal race for him as well as a few others Joe has in mind," Watkins said.
"But eventually he wants to bring him back here next year to have a go at the winter carnival in Brisbane.
"The NRRA cups circuit might be out of contention due to the weights he's likely to get."
Watkins has three early rides at today's Coffs Harbour meeting with the possibility of picking up a further two.
"Bruce Swan wants me to ride a couple but hasn't told me yet which ones," he advised.
"I've had a lot of offers including a few I've won on before but I'm sticking with the Brett Dodson stable.
"Brett's my main man and we've put a bit of work into them so we'll see how they go."
Not quite as glamorous as riding a Cup winner in a feature event but bread and butter to Watkins.
"You just keep getting on them and doing your job," he said.
"There might be another one as good as Mr Gold Fire just around the corner."
JASEN WATKINS' RIDES AT COFFS HARBOUR TODAY
n Race 3 - Amber Influence -"No jokes about the name, thanks. This one's a lovely horse bred in New Zealand but could need a little time to gain race experience."
n Race 5 - Sunhill - "This is the right race and the horse is a pretty fair chance. But there are some other smart one's in it so fingers crossed."
n Race 8 - Close the Deal - "This is a really good field. My bloke is first up from a spell and will need the run. Not a bad chance but I'll be riding for luck."