FORMER champion Sydney apprentice Ronnie Stewart has celebrated his return to Australia with a win at yesterday’s Australian Turf Club meeting at Newcastle.
Stewart was Sydney’s top junior rider in 2002-03 but left in 2006 to take up a riding contract in Singapore, where he enjoyed great success.
More recently, he rode in Mauritius before returning to Australia earlier this month.
Stewart has been riding for Newcastle trainer Paul Perry since his return and his effort was rewarded with the winning mount on Higashi – his first metropolitan success since coming back.
‘‘It’s nice to get a win in my second week of riding,’’ Stewart said.
‘‘I just missed home a bit. It’s always hard being away for so long. I got an opportunity for the Perrys. They’ve been good to me, so hopefully there are a few more winners.’’
Earlier on the program, superbly bred filly Lilliburlero signalled a bright future lay in store with a commanding debut win.
By Redoute’s Choice out of two-time group1 winner Regimental Gal, Lilliburlero’s career was delayed by an early setback. But trainer David Payne said she had always shown above-average ability.
‘‘She’s bred to be good,’’ Payne said.
‘‘We’ve always had a high opinion of her. She had a virus, that’s why we put her out, but we always knew she was going to be all right.
‘‘We will give her a couple of easy kills if possible, then see if she can step up to the mark.’’
Sam Rigney reports: The Newcastle Jockey Club has offered its condolences to the family of Medowie-born jockey Scott Galloway after his 18-month-old son was run over and killed on the Gold Coast on Tuesday.
The toddler, Charlie, was playing in the garage of a home at the Hope Island Resort complex when he was struck by a four-wheel-drive.
Galloway, who did his apprenticeship at Cessnock under champion jockey Robert Thompson’s father, Arthur, moved to the Gold Coast several years ago to complete his apprenticeship.
‘‘It’s a terrible tragedy and every parent’s worst nightmare,’’ NJC executive assistant Di Wade said.
‘‘The thoughts of the Newcastle racing community are with Scott and his family.’’