Reborn jockey Christian Reith can see the pot of gold at the end of the toughest road he has had to travel when he is legged up onto Golden Rose favourite Nechita at Rosehill on Saturday.
Reith is facing the biggest payday of his career if he can partner Nechita to win the Group 1 $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (1400m) and can reward himself and his family for getting his life and career back on track.
Over the last two years Reith has dragged himself up off the floor and re-established his career to the point where he is riding the short priced favourite in a million dollar race for one of the country’s biggest stables, Patinack Farm.
Reith has had to fight off depression, alcoholism and drug addiction since his teenage years and is willing to talk about his long road to recovery.
“I don’t mind admitting I’m an alcoholic and drug addict,” Reith said.
“I still get cravings now and then but now I know how to deal with it.”
“I’d finish riding on a Saturday and get home on Tuesday. I used to go through thousands of dollars on a weekend, drinking like a fish and snorting like a king-pin.”
Reith, with the help of his wife Betina, took steps to start the battle against his demons and started rehabilitation about four years ago which involved months of therapy and several stints in hospital.
“I finally broke down mentally and physically and asked my wife for help,” he said.
“It was a long road. I don’t know – I clicked, didn’t want to be like that anymore and changed my life around.”
Reith began the long road back and with the support of family, friends and trainers, and has gradually clawed his way back to the top of the Sydney jockey rankings, dedicating all his new success to his wife and daughter Scarlett.
“I promised my family that if I came through it I would do everything in my power to make their lives better and that’s what gives me the drive, the work ethic and the love of the sport again,” Reith said.
“I think that the support and faith my family have had in me over the past two years since I’ve been back is the underlying reason for the success I’ve had.”
“Betina and Scarlett have been my backbone. Everything I do now is to give back to them. They are my world.”
Reith is poised to ride his first Group 1 winner on the John Thompson trained Nechita who is the $2.25 favourite for the Golden Rose on the strength of her two wins to date, the latest scoring by almost two lengths in the Group 3 $125,000 Coolmore Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m) at Warwick Farm on August 25.
Nechita came up with barrier six in the ten horse field and Reith said that the Fastnet Rock filly is spot on for Saturday.
“She worked really nicely on the course proper by herself and it’s all systems go for Saturday,” said jockey Christian Reith.
“She’s done nothing but improve since her first-up run so we’re pretty confident that she is going to run at her best on Saturday.”
Gai Waterhouse’s three year old Kabayan has drawn the inside barrier and is second pick at $4.20, returning from Melbourne after a fast finishing second to Lady Of Harrods in the Group 3 $150,000 HDF McNeil Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on September 1.
Your Song from barrier nine with Peter Robl is next in the market at $8 and is the best of Anthony Cummings two runners with Ninth Legion jumping from gate five for Hugh Bowman at $15.