‘Sidearm’ to make it 4 for trainer John Wiggington at Eagle Farm.
Published 5 August 2023
Multiple Rockhampton premiership winning trainer John Wigginton couldn’t recall the last time he prepared a Callaghan Park winning treble after I raised that question there on Thursday.
Wigginton or “Wiggo” as is more commonly referred to was in vintage form leading in winners In Evidence (Emily Lang, $3.70), Struan Lad (Jackson Murphy, $12.00) and Denims (Lang, $5.00).
“Gee I can’t remember. It would have been a fair while back”, Wiggo replied.
Wigginton, now 65, won five Rockhampton Jockey Club trainers’ premierships in the decade preceding 2010.
In that halcyon era John had a glamour set of outstanding horses including the 12 times winner Nessuno and She’s Decent which clocked up 10 wins.
In 2006 he combined with now retired hoop (2021) Robert Thompson winning the Rockhampton Newmarket with She’s Decent.
The year before Nessuno won the prestigious Eye liner Stakes (1200m) at Ipswich while the year before that much further north he took out the Cleveland Bay Handicap (1300m).
Incidentally, Thompson a regular guest jockey at the RJC Winter Racing Carnival holds the Australian record for the number of winners ridden at just over 4400.
Wigginton 65, was a late starter into training in his early forties but he hit the ground running leading in winners galore before becoming disillusioned with racing in 2010.
So much so he is reported to have said “if I ever come back training again, I will walk naked around Callaghan Park racecourse”.
After a five years hiatus which included running a lawn mowing business, he made a welcome comeback to training there in 2015.
Fortunately, it was during winter which provided Wiggo with the excuse, with tongue in cheek of course, that it was too cold to bare his extremities in his birthday suit.
Motivated by a passion for racing and more importantly horses and to his credit admitting tiring of pushing mowers and riding Ride-Ons, John Wigginton was welcomed back with open arms by his friends in the industry.
It didn’t take Wiggo all that long to develop another rising star when the precocious filly Better Reflection caught his eye as a yearling in 2018 at Magic Millions.
His eye was well in truly in focus as after purchasing her for $20,000 he developed BR into a Listed Race winner of $330,000 in stakes.
That was just the beginning for Wiggo and his syndicate of owner-mates and stable employee Jess Mergard, as Better Reflection fetched $330,000 when sold to Milburn Stud as a broodmare.
As I was researching this story I discovered that in May this year at the MM National Broodmare Sale, Better Reflection passed hands again for $420,000 in foal to Farnham going to Jan Clark’s Daandine Pastoral Company and partnership.
“She was a brilliant filly and a great provider for myself as trainer and part-owners and a group of solid clients that had been with me for ages”, John reflected.
Over the years Wiggo has trained 14 winners on Brisbane metropolitan tracks and it would not surprise if another horse which he is heavily involved in salutes at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Sidearm, a horse that has won four races under Wiggo’s care for his owner-mates contests an $85K NMW (1400m) as TAB 12 in Race 7.
“Took him down after his last win here a few weeks back and he only got beaten just over three lengths. Nothing much for him (Sidearm) up this way at the moment, so I left him down there as it will be in the horse’s best interests”, John said.
“’It takes a lot out of them up and down to Brisbane and back every few weeks. I transferred him into Brian Wakefield’s name while he was there. It is in the best interests of the horse”, he explained.
It’s attention to detail that separates the men from the boy’s and women from the girls in training racehorses that makes the difference.
True to form Wiggo has done just that with his placement of Sidearm and while there is no guarantee it will succeed; he is giving the horse every opportunity to do so in Brisbane.
And if you believe in omens, jockey Jake Bayliss who rides Sidearm, rode three winners at Callaghan Park on Thursday while as we already know John nailed a winning treble as well.
I didn’t have to ask John for his winning treble reaction as the smile on his dial confirmed the obvious – it certainly beats mowing.
Photo Credit: Caught in the Act Photography.