Comeback kid Bullock earns praise and rides from Lees
ON AGAIN: Aaron Bullock.SINGLETON apprentice Aaron Bullock is making the most of another comeback in his stop-start riding career.
Bullock, 23, started his apprenticeship with Singleton trainer Todd Howlett when he was 16.
He had rarely been on a horse of any kind when he joined Howlett’s stable but in his first two years of riding he rode more than 50 winners.
It appeared the sky was the limit for the teenager, but increasing weight became an issue and he took a break from racing for nine months.
On his first day back, Bullock rode a treble at Quirindi, but after three months of riding and 10 winners, he took another six months off.
Another comeback resulted in a first-up win at Taree but, 10 winners later, Bullock packed away his riding gear ‘‘for good’’ in December 2010.
In January 2011 he started a 2-year stint as a labourer on the Hunter Expressway, spreading concrete and performing other duties.
During one of his breaks from racing, Bullock fell in with the wrong crowd and went off the rails for a short time.
But now he is six weeks into another comeback after a three-year break, and he has been rewarded with three mounts from the powerful Kris Lees stable at Broadmeadow today.
Bullock has ridden 77 winners in his career and the eight winners he has ridden in the past six weeks have reminded trainers near and far of his skill in the saddle.
Bullock has five rides at Broadmeadow today. His mounts for Lees are Certifiable (race 3), Excellent Style (race 4) and Artibai (race 8).
“Aaron has really impressed me since his return and he is the strongest of the apprentices on the provincial circuit,’’ Lees said.
‘‘He is very keen and rides anywhere he can get a mount. ‘‘Aaron rode Excellent Style when she finished second at Cessnock recently and he gave her every chance.
‘‘Excellent Style is limited, but this is a nice race for her and she carries four kilograms less [today]. It is a very open race and she is one of the main chances.’’
Lees said Certifiable would step up to 1850 metres for the first time, and the trainer was convinced if he ran the distance he would be hard to beat. ‘‘He runs a lot of placings, 11 from 17 starts, in fact, but he was beaten a nose by another of mine, Monaco Doll, over the mile at Newcastle last start and she won at Wyong last week,’’ he said.
‘‘Certifiable has been carrying big weights and he drops to 55 kilograms today after Aaron’s claim.’’
Bullock’s other ride for Lees is Artibai, a European four-year-old having his first start for the trainer and which will ‘‘require a longer trip’’.