When we interviewed Picnic jockey Reece Goodwin, 18, he was in good spirits. Not surprising given that he’s currently leading this season’s Premiership!
Horses have been part of Reece’s life since he was born, he lives and works at Seymour with his dad, trainer Barry Goodwin.
Was there ever any doubt in your mind that you would become a jockey?
Never! I always wanted to be a jockey. You can start track work when you’re 14 and the day I turned 14 I was riding out at 4am. I’d planned years out that I’d ride on my birthday so I got up early with dad and rode No Rhyme Or Reason, I’ll never forget it. Then I won on her 2 years later at Healesville!
What do you most like about what you do?
My bond with the horses. I love working with dad and have my favourites, winning on one of them is a pretty big thrill.
Is there anything that you dislike?
Having to lose weight. I’m not too bad at the moment so don’t have to sweat, but I do have to watch what I eat.
What is most challenging about being a jockey?
I don’t really see it as a challenge. I get paid to do what I love doing, it’s amazing!
How’s this season been for you so far?
Really good. I’ve had the most amount of rides so far this season so I’m at the top of the Premiership at the moment.
Congratulations on your treble at Yea. One of those wins was on our horse Anahata. Do you think that she’s got potential?
She’s going to be a great Picnic horse, always tries hard. Considering her last run at Healesville where the ground was a bit choppy and not to her liking she did a good job. The horse that was second that day (High Richdane) won at Woolamai so she’s got some form around her.
Unfortunately, I’m not riding Anahata on Saturday at Balnarring as I have a clash with another ride.
Is it disappointing when you have to break a run of rides on a horse?
I really wanted to stick with Anahata at Balnarring. It’s so hard when you have a relationship with a horse, especially when both are good rides, it makes it hard to choose. It’s part of being a jockey though. If I do get beaten on Saturday, I hope it’s Anahata that wins!
What’s been the biggest highlight of your career to date?
Last year when Celestial Century won the Sprinters Series. We’d picked him up not too long before that after he’d been in Hong Kong for a period. He had no form and hadn’t won for 3 years. He was supposed to run in a heat then came out and won the final!
I’ve also had a couple of good doubles and the treble at Yea the other weekend. Every winner for dad is pretty special.
What does your dad think about you riding and working with him?
If it wasn’t for me being a jockey dad probably wouldn’t still be training. We’ve got a big team now.
Right from the start dad has taught me so much. When we get rewards there’s nothing better than being with family. They motivate me and our family’s horses are pretty special to us.
How do you and your dad get on at work? Can it be tricky working together?
We get along really well, we do spend a lot of time together but it all goes pretty smoothly.
What do you do that’s the key to your success?
Thinking positively. Everyone makes mistakes, you can only learn from them. I don’t keep myself down about anything.
Are you constantly learning your trade?
There’s a big difference when I compare my first season to how I ride now. I’m only going to get better as I go. I watch a lot of races, pick up on little things, not just from the Picnics. I watch the professionals, especially the Group Ones.
Watching other jockeys can be inspiring, then I listen to their interviews and learn from what they say.
What would your advice for aspiring jockeys be?
When you go over the line first there’s no better feeling. There’s nothing better than riding a winner, if you get the chance, try it.
What would be your ultimate achievement?
To win the Picnic Premiership. I dream that I can dominate like Adam Bodey. The Picnics are very competitive at the moment, which is a good thing, it’s healthy.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I’ll be a Picnic jockey for as long as I can and can always see myself doing something in the racing industry longer term.
You’re pretty active on social media including Twitter. Is social media a hobby or do you use it for business too?
I use it for both. Social media is a great way to promote the Picnics so I retweet racing related comments on Twitter and share interesting posts on Facebook.
Picnic racing needs to keep getting promotion on social media. As a community we can make the Picnics bigger!
Which horses should we look out for this season?
Celestial Century when he goes to the Professionals again. He won there a couple of starts ago and has a good chance when he goes back.
You rode Celestial Century in the Quilly Park Cranbourne Corinthian. What did you think of Country Racing Victoria’s initiative? (Did it achieve its aim of showcasing Picnic racing to a wider audience?)
It was a great idea and fantastic to have the race on a Friday night, the betting turnover was huge and is what we need. There was a good field too despite the lack of time to get horses ready.
Personally, it was good experience for me and there was lots of talk about it on social media so Picnic racing got great exposure from it.
How would you sum up a day at the picnics to someone who hasn’t been before?
It’s very laid back, no stress so everyone has a fantastic day. It’s definitely a great family day out and better than a day at the Professionals.
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Photos courtesy of Naomi Seccombe Photography