Linda Meech has celebrated her first Victorian jockeys’ premiership, riding a treble at the opening metropolitan meeting of the new season at The Valley.
Despite a stint on the sidelines with a broken collarbone, Meech collected 139 wins last season on Victorian tracks to claim the title from John Allen and Jye McNeil.
Meech was the beneficiary of Michael Walker forfeiting two winning rides on Saturday after his fall at Sale on Wednesday.
While fit, he rode at Moonee Valley on Saturday, Walker was unable to to shed the weight and ride winners Condo’s Express at 55kg and New Universe at 54kg.
Meech’s third winner came aboard Inverloch in a well-judged front-running ride in the Dynamic Print Group Handicap.
Despite her early lead in the metropolitan jockeys’ premiership, Meech is keeping her feet firmly planted on the ground.
“I’ve been a bit lucky really,” Meech said.
“Two of them were pick up rides but I suppose if you’re riding in town you take advantage of getting those rides.
“I can’t ride winners in town if I’m riding at (somewhere like) Geelong.
“There’s a lot of water to go under the bridge before there’s any talk of premierships.”
Natalie Young, who trains in partnership with Trent Busuttin, was surprised at the easy time Meech had in front aboard Inverloch ($15) before racing to a three-length win.
A French-bred import, Inverloch is starting to show the promise that encouraged OTI Racing to bring the now six-year-old to Australia.
Inverloch spent 18 months out of racing after injuring a tendon before his Australian debut.
Young said the gelding required a lot of work to get him back to fitness and has now won three of his five starts.
“He’s a big, burly, Fastnet Rock and it was getting him conditioned and making sure when we were going to crank him up he would be fit enough to take it,” Young said.
“And we’ve changed his work up a bit differently lately.
“Some of these European horses take a couple of preps when they first come out here and that’s what you have to do, tip them out when they’re telling you they’re not responding and then bring them back in.”