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Wilson Riding with Luck of the Irish
Atherton-based jockey Stephen Wilson will have family cheering for him on the other side of the world when he rides hot favourite Missile Thunder in tomorrow’s $100,000 Lawrence & Hanson 2YO Classic at Cluden Park.
The Dublin-born jockey is brim full of confidence about his chances of landing a second classic on the “Missile” and there’ll be plenty of celebrating in the Wilson household in Ireland if he can do it.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a non-Tab meeting in Ingham or at the bigger race meetings here my mum and dad (Margaret and Gerard) follow it all,” Wilson said.
“I always get their messages asking me what sort of a day I’ve had, so they’ll be keeping a close eye on what happens.”
The stable jockey for the powerful Roy Chillemi stable is pumped about Missile Thunder’s chances and hopes to repeat his success in the race in 2016 on the subsequent Stradbroke winner Tyzone.
Back then he felt the pressure going into the race from a wide gate on Tyzone, but the pair raced clear for a 2 ½ length win.
This time around Wilson is far more relaxed and has total faith in Missile Thunder’s dazzling finishing burst.
“He’s drawn a good gate, there looks to be good speed for him to take up a midfield position. I’ll be looking to get a nice first 600m and then let his ability do the rest. From there I’m just a passenger,” Wilson said.
“It’s very exciting to be on him. I said early doors that he’s a better two-year-old than Tyzone,” Wilson said.
“I think he’s improved if anything. He’s a little fitter and Roy has got him at his peak and spot on.
“The times he runs in his track work here are unheard of. There’ll be no excuses with the set weights and a good clear run.
“Betterdeel and Better Rain both have strong form in Rocky and Brisbane and they look the biggest dangers.”
Wilson arrived in Australia 13 years ago and has been based in the North for about half of that time, mostly as stable rider for the Chillemi yard.
He rode Missile Thunder in his first three wins and then handed over to his fiancé Rachel Shred who has been aboard the gelding in his final two lead-up wins.
Chillemi will be chasing his fifth Classic and is typically confident but cautious.
“The horse is as good as I can get him. It’s a tough field and it’s a race where you don’t count your chickens, but he’s never put in a bad run and he’ll race well,” Chillemi said.
“There’s some strong opposition and it’ll be a good test for him.”
Pictured: The brilliant Missile Thunder and jockey Stephen Wilson gap their rivals in one of the gelding's five straight wins.
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