FORMER Koroit-based jockey Declan Bates made a welcome return to Victorian racing after a six week overseas holiday, riding a group three winner at Caulfield on Saturday.
Bound For Home with the Irish born hoop aboard for Ballarat trainer Archie Alexander scored an impressive victory in the $200,000 Quezette Stakes over Ojai and I'mlovin'ya.
"It's great to come back and ride a winner especially a group three one on my first day back," Bates told The Standard. "I've always had a bit of an opinion of Bound For Home. I wanted to come and ride her.
"I think she's a very promising filly and will be competitive in more black type races in the spring"
I think she's a very promising filly and will be competitive in more black type races in the spring.- Declan Bates
Bates, who moved to Warrnambool with his wife Jen nearly seven years ago, had not been back to Ireland for over four years.
"My wife Jen and our kids had a wonderful time visiting family and friends in Ireland," he said.
"The last time we went there I only had the one nephew but now I've got five nephews and nieces plus mum and my two brothers and two sisters. It was great to catch up with everyone. I needed the break but now I've got to focus on my job. We moved to Ballarat just before we went overseas.
"The main reason for the move was I was doing so much travelling to race meetings across the state from Koroit. Ballarat is a great central location. Archie (Alexander) has been a great supporter of mine. I ride a lot of work for him and he rewards me with race rides. I'll be working at trying to build up contacts with more trainers and owners in the future."
Bates rode his first Australian group one winner Begood Toya Mother in the 2019 Rupert Clarke Stakes.
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