Popular jockey Scott Pollard hopes his first winner in 13 months is a turning point following a horror run of serious injuries, family illness and tragedy.
Pollard steered Pedrinate to victory for trainer Gwenda Markwell at Kembla Grange last Saturday then spoke of the darkest 13 months of his career.
‘‘I was out 53 weeks with a broken wrist, my brother died from a heart attack, my wife had a bone tumour and I had a double hip replacement. All this in 13 months; it’s been extremely tough,’’ Pollard said.
The veteran hoop missed more than a year of riding after being dumped from the saddle shortly after the gates opened while riding Gardner’s Pride in a race at Kembla Grange on September 10, 2011.
Pollard was trodden on by a trailing horse and smashed his wrist.
‘‘I’ve 13 screws and two plates in my wrist,’’ Pollard said.
In February this year Pollard needed a double hip replacement, while just a couple of months later his wife Fiona had a bone tumour removed.
Personal tragedy has also struck Pollard with his brother Wayne suffering a fatal heart attack at age 36.
Only back in the saddle a month, Pollard had ridden five minor placings before saluting aboard Pedrinate in the Baines Masonry Maiden.
‘‘It’s my 25th ride back,’’ Pollard said.
‘‘Not the greatest strike-rate but let’s hope it brings a change of luck,’’ Pollard said.
Breaking through at start nine, Markwell said Pedrinate appreciated both a drop in class and a firm track after racing on ‘‘bogs’’ last preparation.
‘‘She finished less than six lengths back in the Keith Nolan, which is pretty good form for a race like this,’’ Markwell said.
‘‘She’s been in stronger company and this was a good race first up.’’
Earlier, David Pisani took advantage of a pick-up ride on One More Roadie to boot home a winner for self confessed ‘‘part-time’’ Kembla trainer Deborah Walters.
Apprentice Winona Costin had to give up the ride on One More Roadie after suffering concussion in a trackwork accident early on race day, leaving Pisani - who was also doing trackwork - the pick-up ride.
Walters has been training at Kembla for more than 20 years but now has only two horses, One More Roadie and Lord Locksley, in work.
‘‘The One More Roadie owners are terrific supporters of mine and deserve this winner,’’ Walters said.
Leading apprentice Lester Grace was the top jockey at last Saturday’s meeting with a race-to-race double aboard Rich ‘N’ Famous (John O’Shea) and Mediate (Peter Tiyce).