Brisbane jockey Ron Stewart to ride Selino for Chris Waller in the Sydney Cup

The wheel will turn full circle for much-travelled former Sydney champion apprentice jockey Ron Stewart when he makes a hit-and-run Group 1 raid in Sydney for master trainer Chris Waller on Saturday.

The Sydney jockeys’ room was where Brisbane hoop Stewart cut his teeth, winning the apprentices title in 2002-03, in a journey which has since seen him ride internationally in Singapore, Mauritius and Macau.

Now firmly established as part of the Queensland riding ranks, the 37-year-old lightweight rider has been called up by Waller to ride former import Selino in the Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on Saturday.

Waller was looking for a strong rider to ride Selino at the featherweight of 50kg and turned to the man who has often been touted as one of the most underrated riders in Queensland.

Memories will come flooding back for Stewart at Randwick on Saturday and he certainly won’t be overawed by the occasion as he strives to ride his first Australian Group 1 winner.

“I look back at that era of riding when I was in Sydney, I remember walking into the jockeys’ room and seeing guys like Darren Beadman, Jimmy and Larry Cassidy, Brian York and the likes of Lenny Beasley and Chris Munce,” Stewart reflects.

“I was just a kid from Adelaide trying to ride winners in that sort of competitive environment.

“To me, I look at riding in Group 1s as just like riding in another race – until you win one.”

Ron Stewart. Pic: AAP.Source:AAP

Since arriving from Great Britain, Selino has had five starts for Waller without winning but has always had plenty of promise and is rated a genuine two-miler.

Rated a $17 chance on to give Stewart his first Australian Group 1, Selino could be laying the foundations for a potential Melbourne Cup tilt in the future.

The gelding who once claimed a 10-length win as a three-year-old over 3328m at Wolverhampton looms as a blowout chance in the Sydney Cup.

“I have absolutely no doubt this horse will run the trip and that’s half the battle in Sydney Cups – it will eliminate half the field,” Stewart said.

“We may need a little bit of luck from the draw (13) but we will get back anyway.

“I have been doing a little bit of riding on some of Waller’s horses up in Queensland and his camp rang and asked if I could still ride 50kg and I said no problems.

“I walk around about 52kg but it is no issue taking the rest off, in Singapore I used to ride around 50kg.”

At one point in his career, Stewart took time off from riding to fulfil his dream of getting a helicopter pilot’s license.

Stewart will be on Cloud Nine if he wins the Sydney Cup but won’t be flying high himself as his helicopter license is not current and he hasn’t flown for two years.

Originally published asFormer Sydney champion apprentice back for Group 1 raid

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