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  • Provincial Racing NSW


Updated: May 16, 2023

FATE works in strange ways!

Not even in his wildest dreams could JAKE HULL ever have imagined his solo Group 1 ride would carry such an important link to his first city winner as a trainer 12 years later.

But that is exactly what happened.

It is always special when any young trainer wins their first city race – as 29-year-old Hull did on the Kensington track last Wednesday with a $41 roughie.

But on this occasion Rhythmic Pulse’s victory in a Benchmark 72 Handicap (1250m) – the seven-year-old’s first in 15 months - was even more so.

Hull, who launched his training career only this season, has had a lengthy history with the gelding, dating right back to his dam Nayana.

“She was my first and only ride in a Group 1 in the 2011 Queensland Oaks,” he said.

“And I didn’t give her the best ride that day.”

Hull whilst an apprentice won two races at Gosford and Hawkesbury in the space of a week on the daughter of Iglesia for his former boss Grant Allard (now training in Brisbane and a Doomben winner yesterday with Majestic Shot) leading up to the fillies’ classic, in which she started at $201 and finished 15th of 17 runners to Kiwi filly Scarlett Lady.

“I rode Nayana at her first and last start, in seven of her 10 races and in two of her three career wins,” Hull recalled.

“She has been a good broodmare. Rhythmic Pulse was her first foal to race and has now won seven races, and subsequent foals Run For Glory, Bright Eyed Girl have also been successful,” he said.

“I done a lot of work with Rhythmic Pulse and got to know his owners.

“The horse had lost his way a bit up north, and they decided to send him back to the Central Coast, and I was so pleased to be able to train him.”

That came about as a result of Hull being given an opportunity to train at John O’Connor’s superb Feale Park Training Centre at Somersby; the property formerly owned by Hay List’s trainer, the late John McNair.

He was assistant trainer to Grant Allard, who opted to relocate to Queensland.

“I always wanted to train, and I knew my riding days would not last forever,” Hull said.

“I had a lot of luck early in my career, and burst onto the scene as one of the top apprentices.”

However, with more than 150 winners to his credit, Hull eventually tired of weight problems and pain from old injuries suffered in a number of race accidents.

“I had a few bad falls, including one at Canterbury and another at Newcastle when three of us went down and I fractured a shoulder and had internal bleeding.”

Hull actually gave race riding away for quite a time and moved to Queensland to help out brother Ben (now married to jockey Tegan Harrison), who was training at the Gold Coast.

“I rode work for Ben and once he had got himself established, went to Brisbane and also rode work for trainers Steve O’Dea and Chris Anderson.”

Hull did return home and resumed his riding career before pulling the pin after partnering first starter Sing And Dance for Wyong’s Damien Lane in a 900m Maiden at Newcastle on August 8, 2020.

The Your Song gelding finished sixth in a field of nine, and Hull said at the time he was just “poking around having the odd ride or two”.

Though Hull’s career in the saddle was over, an important new one in the industry was about to begin.

He joined Allard at Feale Park as his assistant trainer before the chance to train in his own right occurred earlier this season.

“John (O’Connor) has spent a lot of money and done a great job developing the property, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to train there,” he said.

“It’s a beaut set-up and a horse paradise,” he said. “We have a 1000m sand training track, and I can give them proper gallops here.

“I take our horses to the Gosford track for jumpouts, and also the babies there to help educate them.”

Hull says Rhythmic Pulse has thrived at Feale Park. “It is so relaxing there and his first-up run for me when fourth at Wyong on April 20 was really good as he isn’t comfortable on heavy tracks.

“His work since had been very pleasing, his attitude was good and he was bouncing around and starting to feel like the same horse I knew earlier.

“Rhythmic Pulse is straight forward to train and a big and strong horse, and always races best that way.

“I gave him a good chance on the Kensington track last Wednesday.

“Mitchell Bell had won three races on the horse, including two at Canterbury in late 2021 and early 2022 for Grant (Allard), and to see him lead throughout was fantastic and gave me a terrific thrill.”

It’s been full steam ahead for Hull in this new chapter of his racing career. He has had only 23 starters and already won four races; his first also being special with his fourth runner Goofy Mick, who hadn’t raced for 17 months when he scored at Taree on December 18 last year at $14.

Now that often elusive city breakthrough is safely done, Hull is looking ahead with understandable confidence.

“Even though I’m training for John O’Connor at Feale Park, I can also take horses for outside owners,” he said.

‘Gosford Race Club vice-chairman Michael Griffiths bought three well-bred yearlings for me at the Gold Coast in January, and I appreciate the confidence he has in me.

“We have accommodation for up to 60 horses here, and we’re building up nicely.

“I’m determined to put my head down and bum up and continue to do the best possible job I can with all the horses.”

HOOFNOTE: Hull was never going to do anything else but be involved in racing. His father Mark also rode winners, and his mother Alison is the sister of successful jockey Josh Parr’s Mum Melinda.

*Words John Curtis - pics Bradley Photos*

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