Coffs Harbour's Jasen Watkins makes a comeback
EVERY country-based jockey dreams of breaking into big city racing but the reality is only a handful are chosen.
Coffs Harbour rider Jasen Watkins is the latest from the Northern Rivers Racing Association to shoulder his saddle and head to the bright lights of Brisbane to ply his trade.
He follows in the footsteps of good mate Glenn "Spike" Colless who became a Brisbane premiership winner, Scott Seamer who collected the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double on Ethereal, and Zac Purton, now seen by many as the best jockey in the world.
Watkins will make a remarkable comeback to riding at tomorrow's Ipswich race meeting.
A severe neck injury put him on the sidelines in 2014 and after a lengthy recuperation, he chose the hard road to travel rather than the easy option of chasing winners on local racetracks.
"I'm first on the track at Eagle Farm at 3.30am to work for the Brad Herne and Chris Munce stables," Jasen said.
"Can't wait to ride my first winner for all the people in Coffs and would love it if I was to knock off Spike (Colless) in a photo."
Another attraction in the northern capital is more regular opportunities to watch his beloved South Sydney Bunnies when they come to play the Broncos.
Warm, humorous and a popular character in Coffs Coast sport, Watkins will have thousands of supporters cheering him to the line.
Turf legend Joe Janiak spoke with Jasen about trying his luck on the Asian circuit in Macau and Singapore but thinks Brisbane is his place.
"If Jasen can keep his weight under control and work hard, he has the ability to make it," he said.
"We wish him all the best and good luck."