Mehmet prepares for Coffs comeback
ONE time boom apprentice jockey Nick Mehmet will reignite his career by basing himself at Coffs Harbour racecourse from next Monday.
Mehmet took an extended break from racing after finishing a mature-age indenture with Caulfield trainer Mick Price, during which he discovered the highs and lows of an unforgiving racing industry.
From a couple of publicised run-ins with fellow riders to a shocking run of bad luck with injury, the colourful jockey had plenty of ups and downs in Melbourne while establishing his reputation as a rare talent.
“All that’s behind me now and it’s a case of been there, done that,” he said.
“Coming to Coffs will be a seachange and, as I can ride at 49kg without wasting, I am confident I can establish myself here and be a real asset to the industry.”
From being just a face in the crowd at last Sunday’s Pink Silks race day, Mehmet can’t wait to go to the other side of the mounting yard fence and be legged aboard a winning chance.
“I’ll be riding for Tom Cowan, who has come up from Cranbourne to settle at Coffs, and already I’ve been promised opportunities from Jim Jarvis and other trainers,” he added.
“My intention is to work real hard and establish myself here for the long-term.
“This week I’ll drive back to Melbourne to get the final clearance from the doctors after the operation on my shoulder and once that’s done, it’s full-speed ahead.”
During his apprenticeship, Mehmet rode for all the top Victorian stables, including Hayes and Freedman.
Up until a shoulder injury forced him out of the saddle, he won 85 races from 1327 rides with his mounts earning prize money 54 per cent of the time.
He said the best horse he rode in Melbourne was Group One-winner Pompeii Ruler with his best win the feature Apprentices Cup at Flemington.
The jockey claims his best-ever ride was on Adaptor to win a $100,000 race at Sandown and he has Australian Jockey’s Association chief executive Des O’Keefe firmly in his corner.
“He’s such an enthusiastic person,” O’Keefe said of Mehmet.
“Despite a horrendous run with injury, he’s still got the commitment.”
Coffs trainer Jarvis has known the jockey for a number of years and has no doubt he’ll be successful.
“Not only can he ride light but he’s very strong and is a real thinker,” he said. “We’re desperate for experienced, senior riders in the area and he’ll ride plenty of winners once the word gets around.”
Mehmet can be contacted for rides on 0407 614 165.