Ford commences new chapter
For the past five years Jay Ford’s riding career has been interwoven with that of champion sprinter Takeover Target.
That chapter closed in England a week ago when the great gelding’s career was brought to an end by a leg injury suffered following the July Cup at Newmarket.
While it wasn’t the way anyone wanted Takeover Target’s racing days to finish, Ford had been preparing for the time it all came to a close.
“My career has been built around his and although his could have ended better, it had to end some time,” Ford said.
“I don’t think I’ve had a full season in Sydney for five years.
“I’ve always been here for two months and then I would be off again wherever Takeover was going.
“This will be my first season to fully concentrate on Sydney and I can knuckle down and establish myself.”
Ford was Sydney’s premier apprentice in 2003-04, a season highlighted by a five-win haul at Randwick in July just days before Takeover Target won the Ramornie Handicap.
Ford was still a junior rider when he claimed the first of seven Group One wins on Takeover Target in the Salinger Stakes at Flemington in October 2004.
After racing in NSW, Victoria and Queensland, Takeover Target took on the world in 2006 winning the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot and the Sprinters Stakes in Japan.
His most recent visit to England was his fourth and came after Group One successes at home in the TJ Smith and Goodwood.
Although everyone remembers him for his achievements on Takeover Target, Ford also has two other Group One victories aboard the Anthony Cummings-trained Hotel Grand.
“I ride work at Rosehill for the Hawkes team, Gerald Ryan and Tim Martin and I also go to Randwick and ride for Anthony,” Ford said.
“I rode Hotel Grand to two Group One wins. Anthony always has a good horse in the stable so hopefully I can get on one of those.
“It’s always great to ride for the bigger stables and I have had a lot of success for various trainers and I’ve got support behind me.”
Ford rode at Rosehill on Saturday after returning to Sydney late last week.
Before he flew home, he made a special visit to see his old mate in the veterinary hospital.
“I went to see Takeover before I came home and he seemed happy and bright within himself,” Ford said.
“Everything went well with the operation to put the screws in his leg and it’s just a case now of him healing and being well enough to make the trip home.
“Hopefully that all happens in a couple of months.”
Ford’s travels may not yet be over with no word yet as to who might play his part in the proposed movie.
“I believe filming starts next year and who knows, maybe I will get to be in it,” he said.