Hellyer rejects Macau offer

Last season’s champion apprentice Michael Hellyer has rejected an offer to ride in Macau and wants to establish himself as one of Brisbane’s top senior riders next season.

Hellyer returned from Macau this week after representing Australia when runner-up on Power Climber in the Apprentices Bowl on Sunday.

The 22-year-old has five rides at Eagle Farm on Saturday including four for his boss, trainer Kelso Wood.

“I had six rides for a second and a third in Macau and I was offered a contract to ride there for three or six months,” Hellyer said.

“I turned it down because I’ve just bought a house here and I love Brisbane.

“If I went there I’d lose all my contacts when I came back so I’m staying here.

“I won the apprentices’ title last season and now that I’ve achieved that my aim is to establish myself for when I became a senior rider in 12 months.”

Hellyer, who rode a winner at Eagle Farm on Wednesday at his first meeting since returning from Macau, has put paying off his home at the top of his wish list.

“My main aim is to pay off my home and make a good living for my family,” the former Wollongong apprentice said.

Hellyer is looking forward to riding at Eagle Farm, particularly aboard Zero Rock in the Elder Consulting Handicap (1000m) and the promising Benny’s Buttons in the AHS Hockey Support Group Handicap (1000m).

Zero Rock hasn’t started since finishing second to Walking Or Dancing in the Magic Millions Cup (1400m) at the Gold Coast in January while Benny’s Buttons returns after his eye-catching second to Shamillion in the Listed Australia Post Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm in June.

Wood is setting Zero Rock for another shot at the Magic Millions Cup while Benny’s Buttons will have a short summer campaign before coming back for next year’s Brisbane winter carnival.

“Zero Rock had three months in the paddock after she hurt herself on the track getting ready for the winter carnival,” Wood said.

“She somehow slipped and did the splits on the grass track one morning. All my horses have at least 10 weeks work before they resume so she’ll be forward enough.

“But it might be a bit short for Benny’s Buttons but he’ll race well.

“He’s had a jumpout but he’s still immature. I’ll only give him a couple of runs this time in before I start to get him ready for the winter next year.”

Benny’s Buttons has only started three times which included a Caloundra maiden win prior to his Australia Post performance.

The son of Refuse To Bend will be set for the major three-year-old races next winter including the Group Two Queensland Guineas (1600m) at Eagle Farm in June.