Leading country jockey Dan Ballard makes a return to Brisbane after more than a decade to ride Fab’s Cowboy in the $100,000 Battle of the Bush final at Doomben.
Ballard won two apprentices’ titles on the Gold Coast where he was indentured to Alan Bailey from 2002.
He was leading the Brisbane apprentices’ title when he was badly injured in a fall.
He returned home to Mount Isa in 2006 where his family, including his parents Keith and Denise, is a driving force in north west Queensland racing.
Dan Ballard is also president of the Mt Isa Race Club, a job he mixes with working in the mines and riding.
He has ridden 50 winners this season at a strike rate of 32.9 per cent.
“The Battle of the Bush series has been a great concept and very well received in the bush,” Ballard said.
There could be no more apt ride for him in the final than Fab’s Cowboy who has been a prolific country winner.
Trained by Bevan Johnson at Miles in central western Queensland, Fab’s Cowboy has won 22 races and nearly $150,000 prize money.
He won the most races of any horse in Australia in 2016/17 with 13 and this season has seven wins.
He is the 61kg topweight for Saturday’s 1200m-race and has drawn barrier 18 in the field of 16 plus six emergencies, five of which have drawn inside him.