Wagga jockey Nick Heywood captured his first Southern District Racing Association (SDRA) premiership at Albury on Tuesday.
Heywood scored an all important win late in the day to get home by one win in a thrilling finish to the jockey’s premiership.
Heywood’s victory on Squidensquizz ($5.00) regained him the outright lead with 29 wins and was enough to see him home from Nick Souquet (28) and Simon Miller (27).
It was Heywood’s first SDRA premiership in his first season as a senior rider and it came 12 months after returning home from a stint with Peter and Paul Snowden in Sydney.
The 22-year-old is proud to etch his names into the SDRA history books by becoming a premiership-winning jockey.
“It’s a great achievement,” Heywood said.
“Look, it’s obviously not what I was thinking about at the start but when I was close at the end I thought it would be a great result.
“My goal for the season was to keep a good strike rate and ride 80 winners and I just fell short of that. It was still a better season than I expected.”
Souquet joined Heywood in a tie for the lead early on Tuesday after a win on Black Roe ($4.40) in the second race of the day.
Simon Miller then made it interesting by winning on My Divas ($3.00) to draw within one win of Heywood and Souquet.
Heywood then claimed the outright lead in race five, winning on Squidensquizz.
He then safely held on and almost stretched his lead in the last race, when being edged out in a photo finish on Ribs.
“I knew I had two very nice rides in my book so I wasn’t too confident...but I was quite happy to share the win with Nicko though,” Heywood said.
Wagga made it a double as Trevor Sutherland captured his fourth SDRA trainer’s premiership on Tuesday.
He took an unassailable nine-win lead into the race meeting and that margin did not change.
Sutherland finished with 30 wins for the season, nine ahead of Wodonga’s Craig Widdison and Wagga’s Chris Heywood.
Josh Richards and Rebeka Prest tied for the SDRA apprentice premiership.