EXPERIENCED Wagga jockey Mick Travers does not like riding in Sydney but had a couple of good reasons to make an exception on Saturday.
Travers will head to Randwick for he one ride on Saturday when he is legged aboard Big Steve in the $100,000 TAB Highway Class Two Handicap (1400m).
Travers concedes he usually 'hates' riding in Sydney and estimates it has been six years since his last ride at metropolitan level.
But after initially encouraging the connections of Big Steve to engage a city jockey, Travers was happy to accept the invitation to ride the horse in the Highway.
"It's a dual-purpose visit," Travers explained.
"My mum lives in Sydney and I haven't seen her in a couple of years due to COVID.
"So it's a good opportunity to go up and see her now that the restrictions have eased. I can have a couple of days holiday from the horses, ride the horse and see my Mum.
"It will be good."
Travers is one of the only trainer-jockey dual licence holders in NSW so is naturally busy juggling both commitments.
The fact that there is no racing in the Southern District Racing Association (SDRA) this weekend paved the way for his trip to Sydney.
"It was basically that there are no races here this weekend that I thought I might as well go," he said.
"I've got a good association with the horse, and Anita (Walder) and the owners wanted me to ride. I initially suggested they get a city rider but they wanted to keep that continuity."
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Travers has ridden Big Steve at his past seven starts for two wins and three minor placings.
The four-year-old Bombala galloper is a $26 chance and Travers believes the tempo will play a big part in his chances from barrier 13.
"He's going to get back unfortunately so it's going to be tough," he said.
Travers heads to Randwick in form, having ridden Strawberry Swing to victory for Andrew Dale in the last race at Corowa on Thursday.
He won't be the only SDRA representative at Randwick on Saturday.
The Donna Scott-trained Takissacod will contest the Benchmark 78 Fillies & Mares Handicap (1400m).
Takissacod is a $23 chance with TAB and will be ridden by Rachel King from the inside gate.
Former SDRA leading apprentice Tyler Schiller will be looking to continue his good form of late.
Schiller held a one-win lead over Jenny Duggan in the metropolitan apprentice's premiership heading into Friday night's meeting at Canterbury.
Schiller has a couple of strong chances among his book of seven rides.
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