There is no better big-race performer than jockey Glen Boss, who has incredibly resurrected his career at an age when most jockeys have hung up the saddle.
50 and going strong
Glen Boss said in a recent interview that when he looks into a mirror, he doesn’t see a 50-year-old.
“I don’t feel 50 because I’ve never been fitter or ridden as well,” he said.
Few will disagree that Boss is in supreme form, and on Saturday 4 April at Randwick racecourse he will attempt to win an incredible eighth Group 1 Doncaster Mile when he lines up on Brandenburg, who is the heavily backed favourite in Doncaster Mile betting.
It’s a far cry from the Boss who left Australia for Singapore in 2016, claiming that Australian racing was no longer giving him the opportunities he deserved.
That all changed in April 2019 when the naturally lightweight Boss accepted a call from the Hawkes training team to ride the three-year-old colt Brutal in the Doncaster Mile. Boss produced a brilliant ride to win a record seventh Doncaster, signalling that he was ready to return to Australian racing
Boss’s impact since has been nothing short of amazing.
He showed his love of the Randwick ‘mile’ by winning the 2019 Group 1 Epsom Handicap on Kolding, and soon after stood in his irons as Yes Yes Yes crossed the line first in the $14 million The Everest to give Boss his biggest pay day. Two weeks later, riding Kolding once more, Boss took home the $7 million Golden Eagle.
Group 1 record
This autumn Boss was at his best as he rode Bivouac to win the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington. It was his 84th Group 1 win in Australia, which places him eighth on the all-time Australia Group 1 list for jockeys.
Above him are Damien Oliver (115), George Moore (104), Jim Cassidy (98), Roy Higgins (90), Shane Dye (89), Hugh Bowman (88) and Mick Dittman (85). Boss has ridden five more Australian Group 1 winners that the great Darren Beadman.
Where it all began
Boss won his first Group 1 race on the Grahame Begg–trained Telesto in 1994’s Chipping Norton Stakes, but his first winner was at the lowly Gympie track on Basiteka in November 1986.
He grew up on the family cattle farm at Caboulture in Queensland, where he honed his riding skills on the Pony Club circuit. Small and slight, he accepted a position as an apprentice to trainer Terry Chinner at Gympie when he was 15. He rode 60 winners in 10 months for Chinner before transferring to trainer Kaye Tinsley on the Gold Coast.
Tinsley once said: “Unfortunately, some of the horses Glen rode didn’t have the same ability as Glen.”
The big break and Makybe Diva
Boss moved to Sydney in 1994. Glen Boss’s career big break came in 1995 when Lee Freedman needed a late replacement rider for Jim Cassidy on Flying Spur in the Golden Slipper – and an inspired ride saw Boss steer the colt to a shock win at $26.
However, it’s Boss’s association with the champion mare Makybe Diva that made him a household name. They combined to win a historic three consecutive Melbourne Cups (2003–05) for trainers Freedman (two wins) and David Hall (one).
Boss rode for two seasons in Hong Kong in 2008 and 2009, during which he returned to Sydney to win the 2008 Golden Slipper on Sebring and, in 2009, produced a daring ride on the rising star So You Think to win his first Cox Plate.
Thinking of tipping a Glen Boss ride?
Since winning the Golden Eagle in October 2019, Boss has had only 33 metropolitan rides on horses that were single-figure odds (Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland). At a strike rate of 15 per cent, this is well under market expectations of 20.4 per cent; however, one of those was on Bivouac in the Newmarket Handicap.
Therein lies the key for punters wanting to bet on the big events.
It’s Boss’s ability to rise to the occasion in the major races that makes him elite. For example, since 2000 in Sydney, his Group 1–winning strike rate is an incredible 14 per cent and his place strike rate is 34.8 per cent.
On Saturday 4 April at Randwick, his Group 1 rides are: Brandenburg (Doncaster Mile), Loving Gaby (TJ Smith Stakes) and Larimer Street (Sires’ Produce Stakes). He doesn’t have a ride in the Australian Derby.
Of course, he’s won a record seven Doncaster Miles from only 20 rides in the race.
He’s yet to win a TJ Smith Stakes and his only win in the Sires’ Produce Stakes was on the champion Dance Hero in 2004.
All eyes will be on Boss this Saturday. Can he take out an eighth Doncaster Mile?