Damian Browne has long been one of the most underrated jockeys in Australia and his brilliant efforts around Brisbane have been skimmed over by plenty of people.
Now though he’s forcing people to take notice with a strike rate that could well be the best in the country by the season’s end.
Only Nash Rawiller stands in his way, a man few disagree is among the best in the country and he’s constantly heaped with plenty of well deserved praise.
Tomorrow’s mid-week meeting at Doomben will be hugely important for Browne if he is to retain his narrow lead on top of his rivals.
His current figures show a 24.44 percent win rate with 76 from 311 attempts this season.
Rawiller is incredibly close with a 24.15 percentage, however that’s form more rides with 107 winners from 443 attempts.
The only other rider with a realistic chance of catching them is Tasmanian jockey Brendan McCoull.
Browne is in a pretty good position to retain his current standings with two of his mounts, Stand And Cheer and Tail And All favourites in their respected events.
It’s worth noting as well that Browne is far from full fitness at the moment, in fact he has received advice from doctor’s to stop riding altogether.
Instead he’s given himself a self imposed limit of four rides per day to try and keep himself in ok shape.
“It’s more a management thing,” Browne said.
“I found in the past when I’ve had seven or eight rides I’ve had trouble walking the next day.”
Browne was out of the game for a full two years after severely breaking his leg in multiple places during a race fall.
He had only returned for less than a month before another fall put him out for another 12 months.
“The doctors told me to give racing away because they reckoned my leg wouldn’t stand up to the rigours of riding but I was determined to ride again,” he said.
He wasn’t as conspicuous a figure as many would have expected during this year’s Brisbane Carnival because of a suspension at a crucial time.
He only returned to main scene on Saturday when he got Adnocon home to his second Eye Liner Stakes title in Ipswich.
In fact from just eight rides since his suspension Browne has managed to get six horses across the line first.
While nobody questions his ability, horse selection is also paramount.
“I leave it up to my manager to sort out which rides I take and which ones I don’t,” he said.
“Obviously it’s hard to please everyone but my manager seems to get it right most times.”
Browne’s rides in Brisbane tomorrow are Tail And All, Stand And Cheer, Veico and Conscious Mistake.