Since returning from suspension late last month, Billy Owen has been in great form, riding winners at Moruya, Albury and Wagga.
Owen will hope to continue that good run of form into June when racing at Wagga today.
The Brungle product has seven rides on the eight-race-card and he believes he has a handful of winning chances.
According to Owen, his best is in the first when jumping aboard the Matthew Dale-trained Tavifern, which jumps from gate one in the 1600m Maiden Plate.
“Both of Matty Dale’s horses are in the market and they will be hard to beat if things go right,” Owen said.
“The one in the first looks my best. It looks its race on paper and it has placed on the wet.”
Owen also hops aboard Unique Prince for Dale in the last race – the 1200m Class Two Handicap – but drawing gate 17 does worry him.
“The wide draw is my concern and I just don’t think it’s the kind of horse that will do well from out wide,” Owen said.
“We just need some luck.”
Owen helped the George Dimitropoulos-trained Blazing Zone to victory at Wagga on Saturday when winning the 1800m Benchmark 50 Handicap from gate two.
It will be harder today, with the galloper stepping up to a Benchmark 58, while drawing poorly with gate 14 in the 2000m event.
“I think he is still a chance, and the other day, that was his fifth win,” Owen said.
“George said to me he was short of a run the other day, so that will only be a positive going into Friday (today).
“Still, I do think the barrier is a bit of a negative for him. George said he races better on the pace, and with barrier two the other day, he got that soft run and that’s why he was able to hang on in that last 250 metres but he won’t get that soft run from out wide.”
Owen had no luck at Wagga with barrier draws, but he admitted it was part and parcel of racing.
“I have got two draws inside nine,” Owen laughed.
“It’s not something I normally pay too much attention to, unless you’re on a horse you like.
“For me, I only really look up to see what rides I have got and I don’t look at them form-wise until race morning just because anything could be scratched.”
Owen said he didn’t really let draws and speed maps dictate his rides either, with the experienced South East and Southern Districts hoop happy to go by feel during his races.
“I am not a huge jockey for speed maps unless it is really obvious,” Owen said.
“I do have a quick look, and riding around the places and riding the same horses, you know the horses, and I am a big believer of riding where the horse jumps and feels comfortable and then just see how the race pans out from there.”
Wagga was rated a heavy 10 at the time of publishing, and Owen said things wouldn’t change too much for him, unless an obvious bias came to the fore after the first couple of races.
“Being at Wagga, I won’t be doing anything different, unless you ride the first few races and see a bias,” Owen said.
“Other than that, I will ride them normal and I think you just need to be on a fit horse that is placed right.”
Of Owen’s remaining rides today, he is aboard the Keith Dryden-trained Dip Me Lid in the 1400m Benchmark 74 Handicap, the Kerry Weir-trained Touchable Witness in the 1300m Maiden Plate, the Norm Gardner-trained Vella Fox in the 1000m Maiden Handicap and the Peter Clancy-trained Eastern Breeze in the 1000m Benchmark 58 Handicap.