By Garry Dell
Rockhampton's Adrian Coome took only three rides and a bit over a minute to land his "comeback" winner as a jockey after a four year break.
Coome, who returned to race riding only three weeks ago, grabbed the feature event - the Open Handicap over 1050 metres - at Mackay on Thursday on the Tim Cook-trained Brad, who was also returning from a short let-up.
The 32-year-old Coome was a leading rider in North Queensland in his younger days but gave the game away because of work commitments and increasing weight.
He has trained a team of gallopers in recent years while he has been away from race riding and is now dual-licensed.
"It's great to be back," he said after a clever rails hugging ride on the six-year-old Brad, who registered his 13th victory.
"We drew the rails and I was able to settle just off the speed and my horse was travelling well at the top of the straight and I was just waiting for an opening.
"When the one on the outside shifted out slightly I got a clear to the line and he fought it out well..
"It took us a little while to get the better of Avocado Sunset, who was ridden by apprentice Melea Castle, but despite the 8.5kg weight difference, we got there in time."
Coome, who had two rides on his comeback day at Rockhampton, said he had managed to reduce his weight to ride at 60.5kg and was confident of getting down to 59kg next week.
"I rode two of the 10 horses I've got in work at Rockhampton on my first day back and will saddle them up again on Friday," he said.
"I'll be back here at Mackay at their next meeting and I'm looking forward to the upcoming carnivals at Rocky, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns over the next few weeks."
Brad hadn't raced for more than four weeks because of a virus and other smaller issues.
"We got the issues sorted and I was fairly confident he would go well over the shorter distance despite the 62 kgs," Cook said.
"I plan to keep him going now and aim at the Mackay Newmarket during their annual carnival next month.
"He's always been capable of carrying big weights and very versatile over the sprinting distances."
Brad was the first leg of a winning double for Cook, who saddled up Rock 'N' Sol to win later in the program, ridden by former top apprentice Michael Murphy.
"I've got a pretty high opinion of the horse and will look at suitable races over the carnivals," Cook said.