It’s one of the state’s great success stories of this season and it comes from an unlikely partnership who are winning lots of races and having career best seasons.
The duo is Sairyn Fawke and John Hickmott and together they have combined for 26 wins and 35 placings from 160 starts around the country. While the success is starting to come now, this relationship between jockey and trainer has been building for many years, ever since Fawke arrived in SA.
“Since I came to SA, Mr Hickmott has always put me on. When I’ve struggled to get rides he has always been there to put me on one just to keep my name in the racebook.”
After some periods of slim pickings for Fawke he now finds himself in sixth position on the State Jockey’s Premiership standings with 55 wins for the season.
He’s ridden 58 winners around Australia which is now his personal best season, eclipsing his previous best in 2014/15 when he rode 54 winners and with six weeks left in this season he’ll look to push that number well into the seventies.
While Fawke is creating personal best seasons early on in his career, it’s John Hickmott who continues to get better with age, sitting fifth on the State Trainer’s Premiership standings with 41 victories and only five wins off third spot.
Aging like a fine wine, Hickmott is enjoying his best season this decade currently beating his previous best season by 10 wins when he notched up 33 winners in in 2011/12. This success comes to absolutely no surprise to Fawke.
“I would have to say that he (John) is the hardest working man I know. For his age he doesn’t ever seem to slow down. He loves all his horses like they are his kids.”
“He’s a typical old school trainer. The horses have to work every day, rain, hail or shine. His experience and attention to detail with the horses is something that you can only learn over time.”
While Hickmott and Fawke are both enjoying successful seasons in their own right, it’s their partnership that has been a real winner both on and off the track. Acting as a bit of a mentor for Fawke, it’s the extra effort he has put into his career and the Hickmott stable that has really impressed the experienced Murray Bride trainer.
“Sairyn comes to Murray Bridge during the week and stays with me to ride track work. We then discuss the nominations and fields. He has developed confidence in his ability to ride well and his association with the other staff is great. He’s happy and feels a part of the family and team,” Hickmott said.
Of Hickmott’s 43 winners around Australia which include one win in the NT and one in Victoria, Fawke has ridden 26 of those; 60% of all his victories.
“He has taken me up to Alice Springs and Darwin and all this time together has only strengthened our bond as friends and I can happily say Mr Hickmott and I are very good friends. He understands me and I understand him and I think that’s the best partnership you can have for a trainer and jockey. We trust each other.”
That trust has extended to Fawke riding Hickmott’s most talented runner, Crown Fontein all around Australia. Together they claimed the Swan Hill Gold Topaz defeating a strong field and that same horse ran third in the Listed Oakbank Stakes behind eventual Group 1 winner Despatch with Fawke in the saddle.
The two have become a bit of an each-way punters dream combination, winning at an average price of $17.09 and going at a very handsome 177.7% ROI.
While Fawke is enjoying his success this season, he’s well aware of what traits have got him to the place he’s in right now.
“I could put it down to three things. Hard work, dedication, perseverance. I ride work every day so I’m there and I understand all the horses I’m riding. I’m dedicated in what I want to do, which is race riding.”
“Riding a winner or riding well and repaying Mr Hickmott and every trainer and owner who have supported me is worth it.”