Suspension does little to dampen Nason’s day

English apprentice Jordan Nason was still wearing a smile as he left the Pukekohe racecourse last Saturday even though he had copped a four-day suspension.

Nason, who is attached to the Cambridge stable of Tony Pike and Mark Donoghue, was suspended from January 20 to 26 inclusive for careless riding aboard Sacred Park in the eighth event, the Flooring HQ 1600, after he allowed his mount to shift out under pressure inside the final 250 metres, hampering Arizona Jazz.

That mistake did little to dampen the excitement Nason experienced five races earlier when he won the Touchwood Motor Lodge 1200 on Sacred Park’s stablemate, Absolutely Sacred.

“It was my 10th ride over here and it was a big weight off my shoulders to get my first winner,” said Nason. “I’d had a second and a third beforehand, on Rock Diva and Whoopsie (respectively), and it was a great thrill to get a winner.

“I’ve got to say a big thank you to Raffles Racing for letting me ride their two horses last Saturday and Tony and Mark have been brilliant to me. I’m grateful for the opportunities they are giving me and I’ve learnt a lot from riding work with Mark.”

Nason (20), from North Yorkshire, is a former successful junior show-jumping rider who is apprenticed to Geoffrey Harker at Thirsk,

He arrived in New Zealand last November with 16 wins on the board to begin a four-month stint with the Pike – Donoghue stable and says he is thoroughly enjoying the experience.

“I’ve had quite a few rides at trials and trials is obviously something they don’t do in England,” said Nason. “That’s been an experience and so has riding in the races over here. The tempo is so different from home and it’s sharpened me up a lot.”

Pike was in Sydney last weekend with Vinnie Eagle but was thrilled to see Nason break through for his first New Zealand win.

“He was just trying too hard beforehand and I told him to be patient,” said Pike. “He rides well and I’d like to have him here for the whole winter and he would really get going, but unfortunately he’s got to go back.”

Nason is scheduled to return to England in March but beforehand he will celebrate at least one further milestone. “I turn 21 on the 15th of next month so I’ll be celebrating that here,” he said. “I’d like to ride another winner or two as well before I go back.”