Slowly but surely, Nick Souquet is working his way back to the top of the Southern District jockey ranks.
A favourite for punters and trainers alike, Souquet is regarded as one of the best hoops in the game, but has battled with long-term suspensions and injuries in recent season.
Upon returning from his most recent injury, a broken wrist that left him sidelined for months, rides had been few and far between, with Souquet often forced to travel up to four hours for only one or two rides.
Coupled with this slow return, Souquet has been living in Corowa so he could ride in NSW, leaving his wife and children in Wodonga during the Covid-19 crisis.
“It is tough, especially when you are away from your family, it does make it a bit more difficult,” Souquet said.
The veteran jockey also touched on weight issues and the battle for rides with so many jockeys competing for mounts at the moment.
“Being a little heavier makes it harder, being that 56kg and a half to 57kg doesn’t help and there is so many good jockeys about and not as many rides, it isn’t easy,” Souquet said.
“If you have to have the right cattle to win, it is really easy to win on fast horses but hard to win on slow buggers and you need to be winning to get on the fast ones.”
Despite all of these challenges, Souquet has hit a purple patch of form, winning four races from his previous 15 mounts, including a double at Leeton.
“It is good to get back in some form, its great to ride a winner anytime, let alone a double,” Souquet said.
Most recently, Souquet led the Rob Wellington trained Funky Farm to a nice win at Wagga Riverside on Thursday, getting home by the barest of margins and winning by 0.04 of a length in the 1050m Benchmark 58 Handicap.
Souquet did admit that rides wouldn’t be as common for him going forward though, after the suspension of trainer Craig Widdison.
“I am missing a big chunk of rides with Craig suspended, I was riding a lot for a bloke who had 40 in work,” Souquet said.
“He sent a few to Victoria and I can’t ride there, I am still riding some in NSW but there is definitely a difference.”
The Tumbarumba product is hoping that Covid-19 will be in the review mirror sooner rather than later, and cited an easing in restrictions as a reason to get excited.
“They are starting to ease restrictions a little bit, but we are probably still a while off from being able to ride in Victoria,” Souquet said.
“I just think with the NRL starting, they might open up the borders and give us a chance to ride down there but it is still up in the air.
For the time being, Souquet will take what he can get in NSW and the ACT, and will be eyeing off a few races at Canberra next Wednesday after being suspended last time out at Queanbeyan.
“I am actually suspended right now, I got three days at Queanbeyan,” Souquet laughed.
“I will be back at Canberra next Wednesday and I hope we can get a few more winners.”