Former 4 times champion Southern Districts jockey, John Kissick, returns to riding at Wagga today.
He’ll guide 5 of them around and maybe poetically he wins his first ride back, as he rides number 1, in race 1 as well.
Poetically because it would be the fairy-tale story to trump all fairy-tale stories if it won for him and the man who has helped him a great deal over the past 18 months, trainer Mitchell Beer.
Because it has been not only 4 years since he last rode at Wagga, but 4 years since last rode in a race!
He has been sidelined with multiple broken bones including a broken back and has had to suffer through have multiple surgeries and just as many irons rods in his body too.
Well, not because he came to grief in a race.
A cow did it, more accurately, a raging bull.
On October 23 of 2016, John Kissick sat astride a horse named CLIFF and just steered it around.
Cliffy did the rest, winning the maiden by 7.3lengths easing near home.
He was a $1.80 favourite and it was stealing money – for punters and Kissick. He didn’t do a thing but steer.
So buoyed by his success, the next day he went to a fair and jumped on a different kind of steer. He’d done this before with success and well, not this time.
He rode him for a while, despite the Herculean effort the beast put in, jumping and bucking, then just when it looked like John would make the 8 seconds, the big boy threw him.
The jockey smashed to the ground and smashed many of his bones in doing say.
During the time to recover, he ballooned up to 62kg but a dedicate approach to training nd diet and many track rides over the past 4 months have helped him get back to his riding weight.
Beer has been legging him on to ride most of his horses over the past few months in work, and has rewarded him with two rides, the first of which being YULONG POWER (Pins-Stanica) who looks very well placed in race 1.
Kissick rode him recently in a trial when an eye-catching 3rd.
We wish John Kissick all the good luck in the world as he comes back to the sport he loves.