Meet The Locals: Aaron Bullock

After a tumultuous year, 28-year-old jockey Aaron Bullock is very much back in the saddle.

Right now, he is leading the New South Wales Country Jockey Premiership. We caught up with him to chat about growing up in Singleton and ask about how he started his racing career.

You moved to Singleton when you were six, why did your family make the move from Tumut?

Well dad was working on the roads for most of his life and obviously with us kids being so young it was hard on the family. He was only home for one day a weekend. It was hard on mum because she was looking after all of us kids. He decided that the best thing for the family was to move away, and get a job where he was home more. So we moved from Tumut to Singleton.

What was it like growing up in Singleton?

I loved it, it’s a great town. My family, my mum, dad, brother and sister still live there. I live in Newcastle now, but I get back home as much as I can. I’ve got a lot of friends in Singleton still. It’s a great place.

What do you love about Singleton?

I love the people and the opportunities and it’s also great for families. There’s work in the mines, you’re close to Newcastle, and it’s a beautiful area. You’re 40 minutes from the wineries and only an hour from the Newcastle beaches. It’s central to everything.

How did you get into your racing career?

I’ve always loved animals, but it wasn’t something that I had planned when I was a little fellow. I never had a background in racing or any family in the racing game. A trainer called Todd Howlett lived across the road and I went over to his house one day and asked for a job. One thing led to another. I was 16 when I knocked on his door and I rode my first race when I was 17.

Was riding so fast scary for the first time?

I’m a thrill seeker so it wasn’t scary, but it was definitely a new experience.

What’s a typical day like for you?

I get up at 4.30am and go to work. I do track work with Kris Lees at Newcastle where I ride eight to ten horses. I come home, I usually have to lose a kilo before I get to the races. I sweat in the bath and if I can’t get it all off in there I jump into the sauna. If I’m racing, I’ll take the bag I’ve packed the night before and I head off to the races. In winter, I usually have to leave at about nine in the morning and in the summer months it’s closer to ten. It depends where the races are. I race four or five times a week and the racecourse could be anywhere.

I am at the races all day, and then I’m not home until about eight or nine o’clock in the evening and I get my back packed and I do it all again the next day.

What do you do on a rest day?

I like to go for a good feed and rest the body. Rest is the most important part, especially as I’m a heavyweight jockey – I’ve got to train a lot to keep the weight off.

What’s your greatest racing achievement?

Probably my first win in a city race on a horse for Kris Lees called Sugar Bella – or winning the Magic Millions on a horse called Jonker.

What do you hope to achieve this season?

I just want to ride as many winners as I can. At the moment I’m leading the Australian Jockey Premiership on twenty-something winners so if I can still keep that track by the end of the season it will be a great day.

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