Aaron Bullock is ‘a bush man at heart’ and few ride the NSW country circuit better but the lure of a $1 million carrot on his doorstep could see the hoop thrust into the limelight on the big stage at Newcastle on Saturday.
The Singleton product is normally happy to ply his trade away from the big city attention in towns across the state and does it with aplomb riding for the likes of Kris Lees and Paul Perry on a regular basis.
But this weekend Bullock will be front and centre at the state’s feature meeting with a strong book of rides including a worthy reward for his hard work away from the limelight in the $1 million TAB The Hunter.
Bullock will link up with Lees on the leading trainer’s home track when he pilots Special Reward in the lucrative main event.
“Kris gives me a lot of support out in the country so I am really looking forward to riding one for him in a race like this,” Bullock said.
“I work hard and believe you only get out what you put in but I wouldn’t be where I am now without support of people like him as well.
Kris Lees trains Special Reward. Photo: Mark Evans/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“I don’t get to the city much – and this is basically a city meeting – but I’d rather not be there most of the time if I am honest.
“I am a bush man at heart and love riding out there but with that said I am really looking forward to Saturday’s meeting.”
Bullock has ridden trackwork at Newcastle for the past five years and has lived at the coastal city for three years while riding up and down the country to ride.
He cracked 100 winners last season and is on track to complete the feat again in 2020/21 a little more than three months into the season.
Before Thursday’s meeting at Port Macquarie, Bullock sat fifth in the NSW jockeys’ premiership with 36 winners for the campaign as a superb strike rate of 24.3%.
“I had a break at Christmas that turned into a bit of a longer break than I expected but I am back in the grove now,” Bullock said.
“To tell the truth, I don’t really get into the numbers that much and only really get told by other people.
“I just want to go out there and give it every possible chance and if I do that, I am not worried about the result as much.”
Jockey Aaron Bullock has rode plenty of winners out in the bush.Source:News Regional Media
Special Reward is one of five acceptors from the Lees stable in The Hunter and he is rated the best chance with the bookies at $15 with TAB.com.au.
The son of Demerit was a two time Group 3 winner during his autumn preparation but has only managed one stakes placings from four runs this spring.
Bullock is confident he can recapture his best form on the weekend.
“I’ve only had one go at him and he finished second before he went on to win twice that preparation in a couple of stakes races,” Bullock said.
“The second stakes win (Newcastle Newmarket) came at this same track and distance so he likes this track.
“I ride him in all of his work and am looking forward to riding him again in a race like this.
“He looks to be a good chance.”
Bullock has a strong hand across The Hunter meeting with quality steers in both of the day’s other feature races.
He partners promising first starter Baby Wong in the Max Lees Classic (900m) while connecting with the Richard Litt-trained Shaddy in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m).
“Baby Wong really impressed me when I trialled him the other day and looks to be a nice horse in the making,” Bullock said.
“In a 900m race at Newcastle you can’t afford to get caught up but the wide draw probably works in our favour so he can get out.
“Shaddy looks a good chance.
“He really surprised me with the amount he improved between his maiden win and second start.
“If he had drawn a gate, I would have said he would win.”
Originally published asCountry gun chasing The Hunter Reward
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