It’s more than 20 years since Wayne Kerford has ridden in a metropolitan race in Sydney.
The Adelaide-based jockey will make a rare visit to partner former Alice Springs sprinter Sirbible in the Listed Canterbury Classic on Saturday.
The 44-year-old has been based in Adelaide for 22 years and hasn’t ridden in Sydney since completing his apprenticeship at Wangaratta in country Victoria.
During his apprenticeship, Kerford rode on numerous occasions in the Riverina area of NSW with an occasional visit to Sydney to make use of his claim.
Kerford said he preferred racing right-handed and is looking forward to getting that chance again at Canterbury on Saturday.
He first rode Sirbible in Alice Springs more than two years ago for trainer Russell Bell and also partnered him to a Morphettville victory earlier this year.
His last ride on the five-year-old was in The Goodwood at Morphetville in May when they finished unplaced.
“He was a little bit out of his depth there, but he’s a good tough horse,” Kerford said.
“That’s his best quality.”
Kerford doesn’t get the opportunities he once did and is thankful to Bell for calling on him for the rode in Sydney on Saturday.
With a large number of apprentices riding in Adelaide, Kerford needed to re-invent himself and started riding in Alice Springs.
“Adelaide’s not easy for a lot of riders,” he said.
“It’s very apprentice friendly and if you’re not tied to a stable it can be a bit of a battle, especially on a Saturday when the fields can be a bit smaller.
“I enjoy going up to Alice Springs and that’s how I’ve found my way to Sydney with Sirbible.
“I started doing it a couple of years ago and will keep doing it.”
The new 53kg minimum in Sydney won’t pose a problem for Kerford with the jockey claiming to be as fit as he’s ever been and riding as well as ever.
“It’s just people want the young blokes,” he said.
Sirbible was trained in Alice Springs before Bell made the move to Colac in Victoria during the year.
The gelding made an impression in Sydney with his second placing to The Monstar in the Razor Sharp at Randwick on December 17.