Comeback jockey Jason Baldock can’t remember the last time he rode at Sandown, let alone ride a winner at the track.
After a nine-year hiatus from the saddle, Baldock made a return to race riding earlier in the year and landed his 10th winner when Ice Girl won Wednesday’s Mypunter.com Handicap.
A lot has changed since Baldock last rode, with the contentious whip rule a major one.
A jockey is allowed to use the whip on only five occasions before the 100m mark, a breach Baldock has fallen foul of a number of times since his return in February.
He’s not proud of a suspension at Wagga Wagga in April when he was outed over four separate incidents in one day, two whip infringements and two for careless riding.
One of the first people he ran into on Wednesday was Racing Victoria steward Robert Cram, who has also suspended Baldock for overuse of the whip.
“Robert Cram said, ‘It’s a long straight so take your time’,” Baldock said.
“They were good words and I spoke to Damien Oliver on how to ride the track and he said just enjoy it and take your time.
“I haven’t adapted to that whip rule and I’ve tried to get the best help I can to prevent being on the sidelines all the time.”
After breaking-in horses and pre-training at Simon O’Donnell’s Wingara Thoroughbreds on his sabbatical, Baldock always had the urge to return to the saddle.
With five children, three still at home and having bought a new property, he decided to give it another shot.
“Fitness has never been a problem and I’ve had very few injuries,” Baldock said.
“Having just bought a big property, I thought it was time to come back and give it one last crack, give myself 10 or 15 years and see what happens.”
Baldock said it was a great thrill to team with Ice Girl’s trainer, Tommy Hughes, after riding the filly into eighth place at Pakenham at her latest start.
“Tommy stuck with me when others tried to get me off the horse and we’ve both got a win in town,” Baldock said.
“Corowa yesterday to Sandown today for a win.
“We can all go home happy.”
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