Group One-winning Irish jockey Martin Harley has made an immediate impact at the first meeting of his Australian stint, riding a winning double at Swan Hill in country Victoria.
Harley had four rides at Friday’s meeting, all for the Lindsay Park stable, and ended the program with winners in the final two races on Blue Tycoon and French Success.
Harley, champion apprentice in Britain in 2011, has ridden a handful of Group One winners in Europe including Goldream in the 2015 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
He recently completed a Hong Kong stint which began in February and was extended after three months until the end of the 2018/19 season in July.
The 30-year-old is now giving Australian racing a go during the Victorian spring carnival.
“England is well and truly up and running this season and the initial plan was to go to Hong Kong for three months but thankfully it got extended for an extra three,” Harley told broadcaster Racing.com.
“So that kind of messed my season up in England so I spoke to a good friend of mine, (Australian jockey) Hugh Bowman, and a few others, and they’ve been saying I was mad not to come down here a while ago. But everything happened for a reason.
“There’s no real time limit. The plan was until Christmas, give the spring carnival a shot and take it from there really.”
Having got on the board with his winning double at Swan Hill, Harley will try to add a city win when he competes at Flemington for the first time at Saturday’s Makybe Diva Stakes meeting, with Queensland trainer Tony Gollan booking him to ride the filly Niedorp in the Listed Cap D’Antibes Stakes.
“Tomorrow I’ve got one at Flemington for Tony Gollan. It’s a nice ride and thankfully he is putting me up on the big stage,” Harley said.
“This is a nice start. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”