Article by: Steele Taylor at www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au
RACING: Queensland rider Matt McGillivray is determined to carry his recent run of good form into the Origin jockey series, which will culminate at Caloundra on Sunday.
The 25-year-old has shown plenty of spark during the past month, capturing his first Stakes win with Crack Me Up in the Recognition Stakes. He enjoyed a hot streak of five wins in seven races less than a fortnight ago and he claimed a double at the Sunshine Coast last weekend.
Now, he's eager to do his bit for Queensland.
"I'm having a bit of luck lately so hopefully I can continue on in the jockey series,” he said.
"It's going to be a great opportunity, riding against the big guns of every state.”
Two riders from Queensland, Tasmania, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, New Zealand and an All-Stars team will collide in the series, at Doomben tomorrow and Saturday and at Corbould Park on Sunday.
McGillivray wants to follow the lead of the Maroons, which have been a perennial force in rugby league's State of Origin.
"We're dominant in the footy so we'll try and be dominant in the racing game,” he said.
"That's what we're there for, to represent the state and hopefully beat them in the series and show them who the better state is.”
Jim Byrne will also race for Queensland.
"He's quite a seasoned rider. He knows what he's doing and he always puts himself in spots where he gives his horses chances,” McGillivray said.
"We've just got to hopefully draw the right horses and have a bit of luck in running and the rest is pretty much in our hands.”
Racing on home tracks has its benefits. They know Doomben and Corbould Park better than their rivals.
"It's definitely to our advantage,” he said.
"We ride here week after week and we know how the track plays and where the best place to be is when the rail is true or out wider and we know when to get going.”
McGillivray lives near Doomben and competes at Corbould Park every weekend.
"I seem to have a bit of luck there,” he said of the latter. "I like it. It's a very nice, big track”
McGillivray grew up in Singapore and Malaysia before moving to Perth and then to Queensland, where he did his apprenticeship with Craig Smith at Roma.
It's the third edition of the series, with New Zealand snaring victory in 2015 and New South Wales tying with Western Australia last year.
Renowned Corbould Park jockey Damian Browne will represent New Zealand, where he originally hails from.
2017 UBET ORIGIN JOCKEY SERIES TEAMS
QUEENSLAND Jim Byrne Matt McGillivray TASMANIA Craig Newitt Brendon McCoull NEW ZEALAND Damian Browne Larry Cassidy NEW SOUTH WALES Michael Rodd Tye Angland
VICTORIA Luke Nolen Clare Lindop
SOUTH AUSTRALIA Dwayne Dunn Jamie Kah
ALL-STARS Robbie Fradd T.B.A
2017 UBET ORIGIN JOCKEY SERIES RACES
Round 1 - Friday, December 8 @ Brisbane Racing Club (Doomben) Class 2 Plate (Set Weights) - 2200m Class 1 Plate (Set Weights) - 1350m
Round 2 - Saturday, December 9 @ Brisbane Racing Club (Doomben) Class 6 Plate (Set Weights) - 2000m Class 2 Plate (Set Weights) - 1600m
Round 3 - Sunday, December 10 @ Sunshine Coast Turf Club (Caloundra) Class 3 Plate (Set Weights) - 1400m Class 1 Plate (Set Weights) - 1200m