Jago back on winner’s list

Jason Jago got a reminder of the sweet smell of success when winning at Tauranga today.

Jason Jago got a reminder of the sweet smell of success when winning at Tauranga today.

Jason Jago wasted very little time before getting back on the winner’s list after a two-year absence from race riding.

The Cambridge jockey saluted the judge aboard Baymax after guiding the Rios gelding to an all-the-way win in the Agrissentials 2150 at Tauranga today.

It was Jago’s fourth ride on the comeback trail, which began just last Wednesday at Matamata when unplaced on Etonian. He also had two unplaced rides at Te Rapa last Saturday, finishing last on Sky Idea (who suffered a cardiac arrhythmia) and eighth on El Soldado.

“It’s good to be back,” said Jago after Baymax’s maiden win. “It’s nice to have one (win) up early.”

Jago’s last win was in the 2013-14 season, in which he kicked home six winners. He had just two rides early the following season before giving up race riding, though he continued riding trackwork.

Jago’s main income during his absence from the raceday competition was derived from his franchise business, Jim’s Mowing Service.

“By continuing to ride trackwork right through, as well as mowing lawns, I’ve kept fit,” he said.

Jago was having his first raceday ride on Baymax today, though he did get a “feel” for the horse’s ability when riding him in trackwork recently.

“I worked him the other day and he went all right,” said Jago. “I also went through his races and found out he was unlucky in a couple of starts. I thought if he led he would be hard to beat.”

Jason Jago returning to scale on Baymax after his comeback win at Tauranga.

Jason Jago returning to scale on Baymax after his comeback win at Tauranga.

Bred, owned and trained at Cambridge by Michael Wallace, Baymax had picked up a second from five previous starts and his two runs since then had resulted in a fifth at New Plymouth and a sixth at Matamata last week.

When studying Baymax’s past runs, Jago was particularly impressed by his second placing behind Shock Horror when beaten fresh-up for two months and racing over 1800 metres.

“I thought that was a huge run,” he said. “He should have won. He led and when the others passed him he dropped back then fought back and still ran second.”

Baymax showed that fight again today and he also gave a glimpse of his inexperience when lugging around the home turn when leading.

“He wanted to run out,” said Jago. “He’s still got a bit to learn, but it was a good win.”