McNab accepts invitation to ride for Chris Waller

Brisbane opportunity for Michael McNab - Trish Dunell
Brisbane opportunity for Michael McNab

Trish Dunell

Group One-winning Waikato jockey Michael McNab is taking advantage of a golden opportunity.

McNab, 32, has accepted an invitation to trial as champion trainer Chris Waller's Brisbane stable jockey under the supervision of stable foreman Paul Shailer and leaves next week.

"I fly out next Friday and I'll get a look around the stables at the Gold Coast that day and then ride work there Saturday morning,” McNab said.

“I’ll spend the day with Paul at Doomben for the Stradbroke Handicap just to see how it all works there. I'll start riding full-time work for Chris on June 11 and have my first raceday rides over there on the 16th.

“Chris has undertaken to support me there and I'll be riding for him. It's a super opportunity."

McNab has enjoyed something of a break-through season in New Zealand, compiling a personal-best season tally of 51 wins that has him ranked inside the top 10 jockeys on the premiership.

He has ridden seven stakes winners and more than $1.6 million in stakes earnings, all big improvements on previous seasons.

"A lot of it has just come down to attitude - to me really wanting to make a decent fist of being a jockey and being determined to make the most of my opportunities," McNab said.

"I've had amazing support from the Te Akau team - David Ellis, Jamie Richards and Stephen Autridge - and also from the likes of Tony Pike, Nigel Tiley, Graham Richardson and Michael Pitman. And I've been lucky to have the complete backing of my agent, Aidan Rodley.

"It's all led to this massive opportunity. I'll be riding in a different country and riding for the biggest trainer in Australasian racing. I really can't wait."

McNab will have his final day of riding in New Zealand this season at Wanganui on Saturday and Avondale on Monday and is hoping to add to his black-type tally.

"I'm riding Wekaforce in the Castletown Stakes and she looks a great chance," he said.

"I worked her the other morning and while she only worked on her own, she worked up really well. She gave me a really good feel and she pulled up well too. She was alert and felt on the job."

McNab will also partner the Peter McKenzie-trained Our Bandit in the Listed Ag Challenge Stakes (1590m).

"He won five races last winter and that's not an easy thing to do. If he brings that form on Saturday, he's got to be some chance." - NZ Racing Desk.


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