Mount Isa jockey Dan Ballard has added another shining award to his collection, winning On The Bit Queensland Country Racing 2020 Jockey of the Year.
Announced on February 8, Ballard took out the Jockey of the Year award for the third time, with outstanding 2020 racing results boosting his consideration.
During 2020 Ballard rode 53.5 winners from 153 rides, totalling a strike rate of 33.9 per cent, while also claiming the Queensland Country Jockey Premiership.
"It was nice to be recognised by people within the industry," Ballard said.
"I had a great season. I was really lucky that I got to team up with some very high quality horses and followed those horses to the coast when I had the opportunity to ride them over there. They performed well, but I think my numbers for the year were bolstered by their performance in the country areas."
Ballard said this was the third time he had won this award.
"Award winners are decided by a country racing advisory panel that works in conjunction with Racing Queensland. The panel and delegates vote for who they believe should be the Country Jockey of the Year, and this year I was lucky enough to be chosen," he said.
"Premiership awards are what I strive for each year, because I believe that it's a mark of consistency."
Looking ahead to the 2021 season, Ballard said his first priority was to lose weight.
"My number one goal is to lose weight. I know they are a lot easier to put on then they are to take off but everything seems to fall into place if I can get my weight under control," he said.
"Deadly Choices will be back this year and I am hoping to have the opportunity to ride him in a few feature races on the coast and the country incentive races including Battle of the Bush and Country Cups Challenge which are great to be a part of as well. At this stage I don't know if I'll have the opportunity to go away for those races or not, but they are a highlight of the year.
"I am a bit lucky that it is a team effort at home, dad rides a lot of track work for mum and that is the main source of where my rides come from, mum's stable, and from Damien Finter's stable."
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