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23rd Jun: Troy Harris setting himself lofty goals
Published: 23 Jun 2017 - - Author: NZ Racing Desk

Impending fatherhood has motivated Troy Harris to make another fist of his riding career.

The 29-year-old Cambridge jockey was a former champion apprentice and dual Group One-winning rider before losing the battle to keep his weight under control.

Troy Harris Photo: Trish Dunell Photography

He took to jumps riding with success, but has made an impressive transition to flat racing in recent months as a sleeker, trimmer jockey, capped by a winning double at Pukekohe on Wednesday.

"My fitness is good. My weight is good. I've been working hard on it," said Harris, whose partner Chantelle is due to give birth to the couple's first child in October.

"I'm riding 57 kilos this weekend, but I could get down to 56 if I really had to. I'll keep at this level for the next couple of months and then take another couple of kilos off for spring."

Harris has slimmed down by following a vegan diet, going through a detox period and quitting alcohol.

"I eat fish a couple of times a week but I'm not missing eating meat or having a drink," he said.

"I'm just really lean at the moment. I don't have much fat on me at all. I run 10km every afternoon that I'm not riding and it's getting easier to stay light all the time." 

With his body and mind honed, Harris will now shoot for a stakes win aboard former Melbourne mare Daniela Rosa in Saturday's Listed Seeka Tauranga Classic (1400m). 

Raced by Lib Petagna, Daniela Rosa has won four of her 13 starts, with all of her wins coming on slow going in Victoria last year for then trainer Michael Moroney.

She has transferred to Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh and had two runs back, finishing fifth in a Rating 75 sprint at Pukekohe last start. 

"Her slow track form is first class and her last run had a lot of merit. She'll take a lot of improvement from that," Harris said.

"I rode her in work on the grass this week and she felt great. She'll be right in it the way the track is going to be. There's meant to be rain coming and that will suit her as much as any of them." 

Harris, whose other ride at Tauranga is on Winkle Dancer in the 1200m maiden, has set himself the goal of riding 60 winners for next season.

"With my weight under control, it's do-able," said Harris, who rides at least 14 horses in training each morning, split between Marsh and Shane Crawford.

"Having the baby on the way has given me the motivation to get back out there and have a really good crack at it." - NZ Racing Desk

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