Bayliss back for Brisbane Winter Carnival after overseas success

Jake Bayliss
Multiple Group 1-winning jockey Jake Bayliss is back in Queensland after a successful stint abroad. (Photo: Trish Dunell)

Australian jockey Jake Bayliss is back in Brisbane after his third New Zealand racing stint and a breakout campaign in Singapore.

His time across the ditch has seen him record three Group 1 wins on the Graham Richardson and Gavin Parker-trained Volpe Veloce in the 2018 Railway Stakes, the Herbie Dyke Stakes with On The Rocks for Michael Moroney and Pam Gerard, and the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes on Nicoletta for Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman.

“New Zealand racing has always been really good to me,” he said.

His campaign in Singapore on a 12-month contract resulted in 19 winners and multiple feature-race winners, including his fourth Group 1.

“It was a surreal experience obviously not only being accepted into Singapore because that’s where I think New Zealand and my time and success there came into play,” Bayliss said.

“You have to have a cemented resume – that’s appealing to the (Singapore Turf) Club.

“When you send in a resume, you’ve got to have featured winners to your name and be quite consistent and probably prove that you can ride light too.

“I had all those boxes ticked and was fortunate enough to be accepted into the Singapore Turf Club.

“I went over there with an open mind and a few goals.

“My goals were 20 winners for the season I was there, and just any feature race I thought would have been a great accomplishment.

“I think 19 even though I fell one short of my goal was still great, but the Group 1 (Queen Elizabeth II Cup) and Group 2 (Singapore Classic) make it so much greater for me.

“Winning the Queen Elizabeth for Michael Clements (Prosperous Return), who is one of the last original trainers in Singapore, meant a lot. He was working there when my old man was riding track work there and I was six years old.

“Then riding the Group 2 winner for Tim Fitzsimmons (Golden Monkey), who was a loyal supporter of mine from the moment I touched down in Singapore, was a great moment for me also.”

In his most recent stint, Bayliss ran second on Nerve Not Verve in the Group 2 Auckland Cup, second on Master Brutus in a Listed race, and third on Our Alley Cat in the Group 3 King’s Plate during the carnival.

“I was in Singapore and I was tossing up whether to come back home and I had a couple of people reach out to me in New Zealand saying to just come back for the carnival,” he said.

“Once I came to the end of my Singapore stint, I thought I would go and give it another go.

“A lot of second placings in big feature races, I got beaten a short half head in the Auckland Cup which was a little bit of a kick in the backside because I ended up getting a month suspension because of the whip.

“I was planning to stay in New Zealand for another month and finish off the last of the feature races but I thought there was not much point hanging around for a month.

“I decided I better get my backside back home to Brisbane and establish myself in the senior riding ranks again.”

Jake Bayliss on Golden Monkey in Singapore
Jake Bayliss pilots Golden Monkey to victory in the Group 2 Singapore Classic.

Bayliss has hit the ground running as he is accustomed to doing, with two runs for Rob Heathcote on the Sunshine Coast last week along with three hitouts at Deagon earlier this week.

“I feel like stepping away from home for 14 months and establishing myself as a senior rider and learning more. Especially in Singapore, I learned a hell of a lot,” he said.

“Coming home as we just begin to creep into the Brisbane carnival, it’s always going to be a bit of a slog for the first month back.

“I’m always happy to keep rocking up and working hard and the results will come.

“I did not expect to come here in the first two weeks back and go bang, so still working at it.

“I am working on rebuilding those relationships and associations with trainers and owners. I think more so, just to get their confidence and their trust, that I’m not going to up and leave again, like I’m known for.

“I think with what I’ve achieved and having established myself as a senior jockey, I think the main goal is to be consistent with winners and rides and be in the metropolitan area every Saturday.”

In working his way back into the Queensland racing ranks Bayliss is happy to prove his ability to get winners for any trainer.

“I think you can’t put your eggs in one basket, because one week you’ll be riding everything for them and then the next week you could be replaced. That’s just how our game works,” he said.

“I’m open-minded and like to keep my eggs in plenty of baskets and just happy to ride work for everyone.

“I reached out to Robert Heathcote because he’s a sort of trainer that has plenty of runners and he sort of likes helping you out. If you put the work in, he’s going to put you on some horses and get you going.

“I reached out to Rob and he’s more than happy to back me if I put in the work and he’s already rewarded me with a couple of rides and hopefully more coming in the future.

“When I first came to Brisbane my first ever stint there was after my first carnival in New Zealand, so not knowing really, even though being a Queenslander, not really knowing much about trainer-wise in the Queensland riding ranks, Rob was the first one to give me a go.

“I was lucky enough to ride a Stakes winner for him straight off the bat in the Brisbane carnival and we had a good association for the first few months before I had to return back to New Zealand.

“Right now, I’m riding track work in Brisbane and making a habit of going to the Gold Coast on a Friday to do work for Lee Freedman, Michael Morrison, Adam Campton, Gillian Heinrich – I’m just trying to keep those options open for them.

“Friday is probably the busiest morning for the Gold Coast trainers but it’s probably more suited for me. I did four gallops for Lee Freedman last Friday and I’m pretty sure I’m planning on going there again this Friday.

“I’ve never ridden the track at Gold Coast before, but it’s a new option for me.

“I’m also more than happy to go over the Northern Rivers. I’ve had a lot of luck over there for trainers like Stephen Lee.

“I gave him a call only a couple of days ago and he said he was more than happy that I was back. So hopefully linking up with folks like Tim when I go over the Northern Rivers.

“I would have ridden 30 winners plus for Stephen Lee. So yeah, I really enjoy riding over the border as well.”

Jake Bayliss (right) after winning the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Singapore.

Away from the track Bayliss spends his time with the cattle that he runs on his 1000-acre property.

“I think it’s just a great break from racing and clears the mind and I’m also a sucker for some good wining and dining in Brisbane City,” he said.

“I’m leasing that 1000-acre block at the moment so it’s always quite busy. There’s always some problem out there which I don’t mind.

“I have 40 head there at the moment and focussing there on the breeding side of the farm, with 30 cows and two bulls and from that about 30 calves that I’m looking after at the moment.

“My passion away from racing is the weaners and selling them.”

A fourth stint racing abroad has not been taken off the table, but for now his focus is on home soil.

“It’s always an option but at the moment my main focus is Brisbane,” Bayliss said.

“Getting that traveling out of my system because as soon as you get older and you start kicking yourself asking why you didn’t do this or that. I’m you and focussed and plans for more racing campaigns away from Australia are up in the air.

“It’s probably another eight months away and nothing is settled as of yet.”

Bayliss would love to team up again with some of those he rode in New Zealand on home turf.

“There are a few horses that I rode in New Zealand and ones that are going to make their way over here towards the end of the carnival,” he said.

“Horses trained by Nick Bishara like Bourbon Road and Texas who will be more than likely aimed for the Sunshine Coast Cup who I rode in the New Zealand Derby.

“Every time I’ve stepped away from New Zealand and come back to Brisbane, there’s always been a good team behind me from New Zealand, so that’s always great.”

As the Brisbane Racing Carnival begins, the hoop was focussed on picking up rides in feature races off the back of his trademark consistency and penchant for hard work.

“Because of how competitive this time of year is the first step is being consistently in town on those big days and having a ride in any of those feature races is a bonus,” Bayliss said.

Even with four Group 1 wins and many other feature-race victories under his belt, there is one title he yearns for above all others.

“I’d love to win the Queensland Derby or the Queensland Oaks, that’s for sure,” Bayliss said.

“If there was one race, I’d love to win more than any other, no doubt it’d be the Ipswich Cup. I think that’d be a Group 1 in itself to me and my family.

“There’d be plenty there, school mates, footy mates, and the whole family. I think winning that would be outstanding.

“I would try and find a horse and it would be lovely to get a ride in it. As you know though, it’s a very competitive race.

“Hopefully be hitting my straps by then and secure a ride in it this year.

“I know it’s only a Listed race and it might not mean a hell of a lot to any other jockey but that’d mean the absolute world to me to win the Ipswich Cup.”

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