Group One-winning jockey Regan Bayliss is back in Victoria ready to re-establish himself in the Melbourne riding ranks after nearly a year away in Hong Kong.
The 22-year-old will return to Victorian racing at Geelong on Thursday and make his city return on Saturday at Flemington where his rides include progressive Bumper Blast in the Listed Chester Manifold Stakes.
“Obviously I learned a lot over in Hong Kong and I really enjoyed my time over there but I’m really excited to be back in Melbourne and ready to give it a good crack,” Bayliss said.
“It definitely toughens you up over there and you really gain a thick skin.
“But you’re riding with the best jockeys in the world and the races are run quite differently. Everything is run very fast and it really sharpens you up in the mind.
“Just riding with those world-class jockeys makes you improve naturally and I think I’ve gained a few different things from being over there. It was a great experience and I’m looking forward to keep honing my skills back here.”
Bayliss began his Hong Kong stint last February and rode six winners during 2019.
He decided to return to Melbourne once his contract ended and he competed in his final Hong Kong meeting on December 29.
Bayliss had his first day back at trackwork in Victoria on Monday, riding at Lindsay Park in Euroa.
He said he would ride work at Caulfield and Flemington on Tuesday as he prepares for his race return.
“My main goal will be building up my relationships with different trainers and owners now I’m back and going from there,” Bayliss said.
The booking to ride the Robert Hickmott-trained Bumper Blast in the Chester Manifold is a chance for Bayliss to try to notch an early stakes win in 2020.
Bumper Blast, winner of three of his five starts in lesser grade, is one of 10 nominations with entries extended until Tuesday.
“He’s a horse on the way up and having a look at the nominations there is only ten horses nominated,” Bayliss said.
“He’s two for two at the track and he’s a good ride in the race.”