Billy Owen to return to professional riding ranks after the retirement of Single Gaze

BACK IN ACTION: Gundagai boy Billy Owen with his favourite mare, Single Gaze. Owen will make his return to the professional riding ranks at Young on Saturday.
BACK IN ACTION: Gundagai boy Billy Owen with his favourite mare, Single Gaze. Owen will make his return to the professional riding ranks at Young on Saturday.

The last six years have provided unforgettable experiences for comeback jockey Billy Owen and now it’s time for some unfinished business of his own.

Owen will step back into the professional riding ranks for the first time since 2012 with rides at Young on Saturday followed by the mount on Nowra Cup top weight Bring A Secret on Sunday.

The 26-year-old hasn’t ridden at the professionals for six years, in which time he rode as an amateur jockey and more recently was the travelling foreman and track work rider for recently retired group one winner, Single Gaze.

Owen has had the time of his life, but now with Single Gaze retired he will once again return as a mature aged apprentice with the Nick Olive stable.

And if Owen can transfer his amateur riding form to the professionals he will be back a winner.

From his past 33 rides at the picnics, Owen has a staggering 20 winners.

Billy Owen celebrates winning the 2011 Gundagai Cup on Voice Commander.

Billy Owen celebrates winning the 2011 Gundagai Cup on Voice Commander.

Just one victory would be enough for him this weekend.

“When I gave it away six years ago it was always in the back on my mind I would one day come back,” Owen said.

“I went to the picnics, then Single Gaze came along and we had some of the best times of our lives with her.

“Now she is retired, it’s time for me to give professional riding another go.”

Owen, who turns 26 in July, said some injuries and weight issues forced him out as an apprentice and now with time and added maturity, he was ready to return.

He will ride at 56 kilograms whereas previously he would be 62 kilograms for the picnics.

While it hasn’t been easy to lose the weight, Owen said he is comfortable where he is at.

“It’s going to be a lot different to the riding I have been used to over the past six years,” he said.

“There was a time when I didn’t think I would get back, but 18 months ago I thought I would, then Single Gaze retired and I thought “I’m going to have a lot of spare time now.”

As for a comeback win, Owen said he would take a few weeks to adjust. If he could win the Nowra Cup it would eclipse his hopes for the first week of his return.

“I thought Bring A Secret’s run at Scone was very good. He is up to a mile again and is the type of horse who is always competitive,” he said.

Owen rode 38 winners as a professional jockey before he gave it away.

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