McNab not resting on his laurels

New Zealand Champion jockey Michael McNab. Photo: Trish Dunell

Champion rider Michael McNab set a hectic pace during the 2022/23 season and he’s ready to hit the ground running again in the new term.

McNab convincingly retained his crown with 164 winners, 47 clear of closest rival Craig Grylls, after first winning the New Zealand Jockeys’ Premiership with 144 victories in the 2021/22 season.

The 37-year-old travelled far and wide to defend his title and is again prepared to clock up the kilometres in search of future winners.

“I was rapt with how it all went and I plan to keep on going and if people want me to ride somewhere then I’ll be there,” McNab said.

His tally included 17 Group and Listed successes and, from 817 mounts, became the first jockey to break the $4 million barrier with his rides earning $4,790,097.

McNab said the season delivered a number of highlights, including a memorable day at Trentham last December when he won the Group 1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) for Te Akau Head Trainer Mark Walker.

“There were many of them, but Prise De Fer was pretty good and that was a great day out,” he said.

The feature event aside, he also won the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1100m) aboard Impendabelle for another great supporter in Cambridge trainer Tony Pike.

He also took his domestic Group One tally to nine with wins in the Livamol Classic (2040m) on Andrew Forsman’s Mustang Valley, the New Zealand Stakes (2050m) on crack filly Prowess and the New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) on Pier for Darryn and Briar Weatherley.

McNab has been the dominant riding force in New Zealand for the past two seasons and is more than happy to continue plying his trade here, although he would also welcome the chance to showcase his skills overseas.

“It would be nice if I got the chance, but those opportunities are hard to come by,” he said. “I just want to keep growing as a person and as a rider.”

McNab will begin his quest for a third consecutive jockeys’ title on Wednesday with six rides at the Waikato Thoroughbred Racing fixture on the all-weather track at Cambridge.

He will partner Spring Queen (race one) and Marmac Boy (race three) for Stephen Marsh, Slipper Island (race four) and Stash (race seven) for Pike, Walker’s Fay Khan It (race two) and Mivirgo (race six) for Glenn Old.

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