SENIOR rider Brendan Ward has extended his lead in the Canberra jockeys' premiership with a winning double at Thoroughbred Park on Friday.
The Canberra-based rider now has 17 winners - 7½ more than last year's winner Kevin Sweeney, who has 9½.
"I'm happy with my form and all is going well, but we're a long way off at the moment - we're not even halfway through the season yet," Ward said.
"I'm just taking it meeting by meeting and I'll see how it goes." Ward's first winner at Thoroughbred Park on Friday was the Nick Olive-trained Miss Milan in the Food On The Run Benchmark 55 Handicap over 1000 metres.
First-up after a four-month spell, it was the three-year-old Testa Rossa filly's second win in six starts.
Miss Milan ran on strongly to beat the Jenny Hoy-trained Opoho by a neck, with Ready Fora Crownie a close-up third.
"It was a good solid win," Ward said. "I didn't plan on getting that far back, but with the pattern of the races today, they were all winning out wide, so it suited her."
Ward's second victory came in the Elvin Group Class 1 Handicap over 1400 metres aboard the Matt Dale-trained three-year-old Commentate.
The Commands filly worked hard from the widest alley to get to the lead, and held on to beat Bracko Mick.
''The last furlong she was getting a bit tired, but she was tough enough to hold on," Ward said. "It was a good strong win."
Commentate came into the race in good form having broken her maiden status two starts before, and although only sixth at her previous effort she was beaten only 2½ lengths and had genuine excuses, according to Ward.
"Last start she probably got caught on the worst part of the track on the inside, but today I pulled her out wide to finish the race off nice and strong," he said.
Ward was satisfied with his pair of winners on Friday and said he was confident of a strong showing from both leading into their races.
"Both were probably my best two rides of the day on paper and they ran accordingly," he said.