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BROWNIE'S BLOG: ABOUT MAKING RASH JUDGEMENTS, A JOCKEY ON THE RISE AND THAT OLD HARD WORK STORY

By Damian Browne | Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Brownie’s Blog is the weekly personal blog of multiple Group 1 winning jockey Damian Browne. This week Brownie questions whether track bias judgments are made too early on particular race-days. He acknowledges a jockey on the rise both personally and professionally and he reminds us that, whatever your activity in racing might be, hard work is the means to success. This is Brownie's Blog … exclusive to HRO

The Eagle Farm track has come in for a bit of scrutiny over the past week.

Everybody is looking for it to play fairly and it has most of the time. The problem I think comes in when people jump to a track bias conclusion too early on any particular day.

I know it was only two races in on Saturday and they were already talking about how you needed to be on pace and close to the fence.

Obviously having not ridden on it myself it is hard to pass judgement but a lot of the times the way a race unfolds is just pace orientated.

When people get the perception that the track is producing a particular bias and everybody tries to ride the track like that … well, obviously, that is where the results are going to come.

Just because in the first couple of races a couple of horses win on the inside, who’s to say they those same horses wouldn’t have won if they were in the middle of the track? They might have just been the better horses.

And as far as the beaten brigade is concerned, who’s to say they wouldn’t have been beaten whatever path they tracked?

These are the ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ of racing which you can’t really answer.

It is of interest to note that later in the day on Saturday a couple of horses did finish from the back and come down the outside and win.

It is not always just the rider’s choice in terms of what happens out on the track.

Some owners and trainers do have a fair part to play in that. They will see the first two race winners are close to the fence and they will ask their jockeys to race fairly close to the fence … you know, as on-pace as possible … and those jockeys are just trying to carry out their instructions.

We have got to remember the Eagle Farm track, relatively speaking, is really still in its very early stages. The more racing it gets on it the better it is going to be so I think people should not be so quick to pass judgement. This isn’t the time to be jumping up and down and making rash statements.

It should also be remembered that every track has its particular quirks on particular days.

To my eye, from what I have seen, I think the Eagle Farm track is playing fairly and is racing well.

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Any track has to be ridden on its merits and nobody is carrying out that brief better at the moment than Matthew McGillivray.

Perceived track bias … whatever … I don’t think anything is stopping him at the moment. He is on such a role and riding in terrific form.

Three winners for three different trainers on Saturday to add to his list … and his rides are winning a lot of those races as well. Of course, his first Group 1 over the Carnival did wonders for both his own esteem and his general profile.

You can just tell in his demeanour, compared to twelve or even six months ago, the amount of confidence he has at the moment.

I know six months ago he was second-guessing what he was doing sometimes. When you have a bad run or a disappointing result you can do that and, on the other side of the coin, when you are a younger rider and you are riding a few winners you can start to take things for granted and think that it is going to come very easily.

So, he has had to work through those ups and downs and I think he is realising now what you need to do to be a leading jockey.

It is the same for everybody who wants to get ahead. It is not about just turning up and letting things play out as they may.

You’ve got to do your homework. You have got to look at everything from every possible angle … and he is doing that. He is covering every base and, right now, he is making all the right decisions.

Put simply, he is doing what professional jockeys who wants to be successful need to do in this day and age.

There is no doubt Matthew McGillivray is going to be a Premiership contender in the coming years and there are many more good wins in him for sure.

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In reply to questions I’ve received about how my jockey manager’s role is going … I can say that, while I never thought it would be easy, it is certainly more difficult than I thought it was going to be.

Having said that, I am really enjoying the challenge and the experience.

I noticed a few weeks ago when Sean Cormack (who I manage) won in a close finish … I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited watching an Ipswich race. I did come out of seat a bit, which was a surprise … but it shows how much I am enjoying that involvement.

I didn’t think I would get as much actual excitement out of it as I am. I guess it comes from knowing you are part of a team and if you find success you get the satisfaction of knowing you are doing your job well.

I still learning the ropes of jockey management obviously. I am starting to enjoy it though … to the degree that I will be doubling my workload from next week when I will be taking on Jackson Murphy, as well as Sean.

The trick is to get to a position where I have a lot more trainers ringing me for my riders than me trying to get hold of them. It will be a lot easier organising than chasing rides although that won’t make my background work get any less.

I think I have been doing more form in the last couple of months than I have done in my whole life.

It’s that old ‘hard work’ story again. If you want to make it work, you can’t escape it!

Full article

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Damian Browne
Damian Browne
Queensland's Own www.horseracingonly.com.au Queensland's Best