Jockey is worth his salt, says Pepper
Gregory's Fortress, ridden by Taylor Lovelock-Wiggins, wins the Tony Campbell Memorial race at Queanbeyan on Sunday. Photo: Rohan Thomson
''Brotherly'' love is paying off for Moruya trainer Luke Pepper - he and jockey Taylor Lovelock-Wiggins brought up their second win together within a week at Queanbeyan on Sunday.
Lovelock-Wiggins guided Gregory's Fortress to victory by a long neck in the Tony Campbell Memorial Handicap (1600 metres), with Kariz second and Hey Porter third.
The Canberra apprentice was also on board the Pepper-trained Magic Franco when he saluted at Thoroughbred Park a week earlier.
They've also teamed up for both of Gregory's Fortress's previous second placings and Quichang's fourth at Wagga on Friday, since Lovelock-Wiggins returned to riding after serving a six-month disqualification.
While not actually brothers, Pepper has known the jockey since Lovelock-Wiggins was nine and is mates with his brother Ryan.
Before he moved to Moruya, Pepper trained in Canberra.
''I've known Taylor since he was a little kid, he's like a little brother to me,'' he said.
''He's a gun rider and rides my horses good, does everything right on them.''
Lovelock-Wiggins was disqualified for failing to deliver a urine sample to stewards at Ipswich, in Queensland, on March 9 after another sample had tested positive to synephrine, an appetite suppressant.
Pepper said he'd returned to the saddle with a bang.
''It's good to see him back,'' he said. ''He's a kid with a ton of ability and he's got big places to go.
''He's a definite city jockey, he's just working his way up and doing the right thing again.''
Lovelock-Wiggins placed Gregory's Fortress perfectly in fourth, one off the rails behind the leading pair of Spanish Shoes and Kariz.
The son of Refuse To Bend had too much speed for the leading pair down the home straight and eased past Kariz for the win.
Hey Porter stormed home for third, with Spanish Shoes fading into fourth after playing up in the barrier.
The win comes after back-to-back seconds for Gregory's Fortress.
Pepper was happy to get his first win with the six-year-old gelding, which he's had only for this preparation. Previously he was trained by Chicka Pearson at Moruya.
Pepper wasn't sure where he'd take Gregory's Fortress next, but felt the 1600 metres was his best distance and he'd look for races to suit.
''He's going super, this old horse, his two places at Wagga have been super and he's just been impressive the whole prep,'' he said.
''He's from Meringo Stud, me and my dad own him … he's been banging on the door for a win and he got it today.''
Queanbeyan chief executive Brendan Comyn said it was a disappointing crowd on Sunday, but put it down to everyone finishing work on Friday and heading down to the coast.
He predicted a big crowd for the the club's Boxing Day meeting.