A hit-and-run riding mission to Brisbane has turned into a stay for the summer carnival for jockey Bobby El-Issa who has heeded the advice of his mate Nash Rawiller.
The cancer survivor had intended to come up from NSW for one weekend only when trainer Lindsay Hatch came calling for him to ride last Saturday’s Doomben winner Let’s Party Marty.
But the COVID situation in NSW changed those plans and a discussion with Rawiller prompted El-Issa to decide to stay in Queensland through to the Gold Coast Magic Millions carnival.
On Saturday, El-Issa will ride Extreme Jewel for Alicia Willick in race three on the Gold Coast before driving north up the Pacific Highway to ride Chauffeur for David Vandyke in the Listed Falvelon Quality at Eagle Farm.
Jockey Bobby El-Issa. Pic: AAP.Source:AAP
El-Issa, a former Queensland rider and two-time champion Sydney apprentice who has often ridden in NSW provincial and country areas since overcoming cancer in 2016, is hoping to pick up some good summer rides heading towards Magic Millions day next month.
“I basically just came up for last Saturday but Nash rang me and said now you are up there, and with the COVID issues in NSW, I might as well stay up here,” El-Issa said.
“The Sydney jockeys now have to quarantine if they want to ride in Queensland in the summer so it has probably worked out good for me that I’m up here.
“The jockeys’ room has changed a lot in Brisbane and there’s a lot of good jockeys here but it probably doesn’t get more competitive than it does in Sydney.
“I’m just hoping to ride some good horses while I’m up here.”
El-Issa is now 42 and feels every day is a blessing after conquering acute myeloid leukaemia, being close to his death bed at one stage as his weight plummeting to just 35kg.
He is now enjoying life, spending his down time either with family or fishing.
Bobby El-Issa with a big fish.Source:Supplied
One of the highlights of El-Issa’s career actually came off the track when he made his acting debut to play Frankie Dettori in Ride Like A Girl, the movie about Michelle Payne and her famous win on Prince Of Penzance in the 2015 Melbourne Cup.
“I loved it and it wasn’t too hard because my own personality is a bit flamboyant, just like Frankie,” El-Issa said.
“But Frankie is a lot better looking.”
Michelle and Stevie Payne were the central characters in Ride Like A Girl, pictured on the red carpet at the AACTA Awards. Pic: Damian ShawSource:News Corp Australia
At Eagle Farm on Saturday, El-Issa will be trying to score his first feature winner since claiming the 2018 Weetwood Handicap on Amanaat.
Chauffeur has drawn the outside barrier 12 and is rated a $21 chance in the $150,000 race.
Chauffeur is first-up on Saturday and all three of his career wins have come when first-up.
Originally published asBobby’s back for the Queensland summer carnival
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