Thursday, April 18, 2024

Husbands eyeing title

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TORONTO – Top Barbadian jockey Patrick Husbands says he is confident of clinching his first Woodbine riding title in five years, but says the final month of the championship will be a challenging one.

The 41-year-old sits on top the standings at the Toronto racing oval with 146 wins, three clear of three-time defending champion Luis Contreras.

Husbands said the season had been a great one but expects the race for the title to go right down to the wire.

“You never know [if you’ve won] until the meet is really finished,” Husbands told CMC Sports.

“I’m sitting on some of the best horses at Woodbine right now and everything is going well but horse racing is unpredictable just like any other sport. Right now I am sitting on a lot of merchandise (good horses) so it will be very difficult to beat me right now.”

A six-time champion at Woodbine, Husbands has been kept out of the top spot in recent years by the duo of Contreras and Brazilian Eurico Rosa da Silva.

He won three consecutive titles between 2007 and 2009 but then played second fiddle to da Silva in 2010, and the outstanding Contreras in 2011 and 2012.

Husbands suffered a broken leg early in the season last year which limited his participation and left him uncharacteristically down the standings but said he had returned this season with renewed vigour.

“Last year when the meet started I was having a fantastic meet and was leading the standings and then . . . I broke my leg and had to be out for a while,” Husbands recalled.

“I’ve come back into Toronto this year and everything is going well. We’re heading into the cold weather now and it’s really stinging me right now but I will monitor my rides and I’m just looking forward to the end of the year.”

He added: “My [good] form started from Barbados in the New Year, riding and winning all three of the big races there. That form has moved onto Toronto and so far everything has been going good and I’m having a fantastic time.”

There is just one month left in the Woodbine season which winds up December 7.

Husbands leads in stakes wins with 24, including the prestigious Queen’s Plate, and also in earnings with CAN$8.4 million (BDS$14.7 million). (CMC)

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