Experienced jockey Dan Griffin’s decision to ride in a different racing region to his beloved Gold Coast has reaped its reward.
Racing Queensland has divided the state into regions during the coronavirus pandemic with jockeys having to select one zone.
Griffin is a nine-time Gold Coast premiership winner but now lives near the Sunshine Coast.
The two beach tracks are in separate regions and Griffin elected to go with the Sunshine Coast in the north zone.
When trainer Robert Heathcote realised Griffin was available on Saturday he was quick to book him for Step Aside ($11) who won the McGrath Plate (1400m).
Stable representative Mel Sharpe said with the jockey ranks split between zones it was good to get someone as experienced as Griffin.
“He rode Step Aside perfectly. Step Aside has been looking for 1400 metres and he might even get further now,” Sharpe said.
Step Aside had been unplaced at his five starts but had been running on strongly in shorter races.
“Step Aside is like a lot of his sire Pluck’s horses and is getting better with time,” Sharpe said.
“Rob will be especially thrilled because Wayne Johnstone and his family who race Real Step have been great supporters of ours for a long time.”