Leaner Barron here on comeback trail
By GRAHAME TIMBRELL
JOURNEYMAN jockey Donald Barron kick-started his return to race riding with a winner at the Gold Coast on Saturday and is hoping to continue the trend with at least one more winner at Lismore this afternoon.
Barron has three rides today, but local racegoers were scratching their heads and asking who the jockey was when early riders were declared.
Barron will ride Gone To Sea and San Jasper for Gold Coast trainer Grant Forge and You'll Do Me, for Debbie Newham, who also trains on the Gold Coast.
Barron has been back riding for only three weeks after a nine-year lay-off because of weight.
Prior to that he had ridden in Darwin, Perth and Adelaide with occasional rides in Melbourne and Sydney.
"Weight simply got too much for me so I gave riding away and had a concrete truck for a while," Barron said.
"However I missed racing, so I worked in a number of stables as a foreman."
Barron spent time with such trainers such as Vic Oldfield, Graeme Rogerson and Trevor Whittington before joining Alan Bailey 12 months ago.
He rides a lot of work for Bailey and recently his wife, Paula, opened a health clinic and gymnasium on the Gold Coast.
"Paula has a guy at the gym who is a genius with exercise and diet and he stripped 10kg off me," Barron said.
"I had been thinking seriously of returning to race riding and Alan encouraged me to have another go.
"It is so much easier these days with the higher weight scale plus the better understanding of how diet can be used to control weight."
Barron's winner last Saturday was a lucky pick-up ride on the Dale Sutton-trained Snow Prince in the last race.
Earlier in the day he rode a heady race on first starter Ever Win to come from a wide alley and finish third in a 1000m maiden.
"I hope now that I have booted a winner and broken the duck I can keep the momentum going and get at least one at Lismore," Barron said.
He rates You'll Do Me his best chance.
You'll Do Me, having his third start from a spell, was a last-start fourth at Ipswich but has drawn barrier 18 in the Frog Rocks Wines Class One (1400m).
Barron rode Gone To Sea at her debut when she ran seventh at Murwillumbah.
But she was beaten only 4.3 lengths and will be a lot fitter for the John Hannigan Maiden Plate (1516m) today.
San Jasper, which made his debut with a 10th at the Sunshine Coast on October 9, will wear blinkers for the first time when he starts in the Australian Hotel Maiden Handicap (1200m).