Houston comeback, but not for stable star

Lucky Tonight, who will be in action at Pukekohe on Wednesday.

Lucky Tonight, who will be in action at Pukekohe on Wednesday.

Former top jumps jockey Shelley Houston has renewed her licence, but she won’t be aboard her star performer this winter.

With a full stable in work at Cambridge, the 33-year-old will be restricting her riding opportunities and she’s happy to leave her Australian-bound jumper Lucky Tonight in the premiership-winning hands of Michael Mitchell.

“He’ll ride him in the highweight at Pukekohe on Wednesday and at Ellerslie on Queen’s Birthday,” said Houston. “Michael gets on really well with the horse and he knows our plans so I’m not going to be taking him off.

“We were looking at going to Warrnambool, but the tracks were still very good over there and the horse had a bit of a cold so there’s a plane for him on June 12 and he’ll have a trial over there first.

“He’ll be a maiden steeplechaser and we’ll aim him at the Grand National at the end of August. He’s a brilliant jumper and much better suited to the big fences. He’s probably too good a jumper for a hurdler.

“I’ve been excited about him ever since I got him from Donna Logan.”

Successful twice on the flat, Lucky Tonight has a win and five placings from his eight starts over the smaller fences.

Meanwhile, Houston will make her comeback to the saddle this winter after giving riding away four years ago.

“I broke my collar bone again and had to have two operations,” she said. “I got my licence back last week. It’s more for my own horses with the limited number of jumps jockeys around at the moment. I won’t be taking many outside rides.”

Houston, who has 25 horses in work, has ridden more than 100 winners.

– NZ Racing Desk.