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Jockey Jason Lyon set for extended Townsville stay

IMG-6513.JPGBy Jordan Gerrans

Journeyman hoop Jason Lyon has settled into life in Townsville well and plans to remain and ride in the North Queensland city for the foreseeable future.

On the back of a successful campaign in the Northern Territory this year, the 40-year-old has recently relocated to Cluden Park to ply his trade, linking up with Tom Button’s satellite stable.

Lyon has hit the ground running in NQ, collecting winners at Ewan and Townsville so far, and expects to remain in the Sunshine State for the next six months at least.

Usually based in Melbourne, riding work for Michael Moroney, and flying in and out ride across the country, Lyon’s movements have been limited over the last 18 months with border restrictions.

Therefore, Townsville is likely to be home in the short term, instead of regular trips to Tasmania, the Northern Territory and around country Victoria.

“I am enjoying it here, I have ridden at a few meetings now, a few different types of tracks,” Lyon said.

“It is all going well.

“The way it is now, if I was flying back to Victoria from anywhere, I would have been really restricted with what I could do.

“I am really enjoying it; Townsville is a good city, and all the people are really good.

“I do not think I will be leaving Queensland for a while anyway, at least until the carnivals in Alice Springs and Darwin next year.”

Lyon landed in NQ in strong form, winning the Alice Springs Cup earlier this year, as well as the $70,000 Darwin Guineas over 1600 metres.

Former Brisbane-based trainer Brad Herne, who had a long association with Eagle Farm's Barry Baldwin, earlier this year was appointed to manage Button's emerging Townsville operation.

IMG-6514.JPGThe Group 3-winning rider has built up a close association with the Herne and Button team in recent weeks, while still being able to freelance around to other barns, and ride’s Moody’s Luck for the stable on Thursday afternoon at Cluden.

“We are building numbers as we go along; Brad is a good trainer and does a good job up here,” Lyon said.

“There are some better horses coming through in the future.

“Now that I am here, Tom is sending a few more horses up, we have got some nice ones coming through.

“I think they might look to ramping it up to eight or nine horses now, instead of the five or six they had before.”

It is a busy week in NQ racing for Lyon – Townsville Thursday afternoon before the Innisfail Cup and Johnstone River Handicap meeting on Saturday at the redeveloped Pease Park and then Ewan hosts a rare Sunday afternoon non-TAB meeting the following day.

Of Lyon’s five rides on Thursday at Townsville, he selected two that stood out as his best chances.

“Moody’s Luck, I do not mind her, she will run all right,” Lyon said.

“Shock Zone, I like this horse, he has been going well in track work and will probably be suited a little further.

“Shock Zone won over a mile at Sale well before coming up, he was impressive that day, and is fresh up now.

“He has been going well, he could be looking for a bit further, but he will be running on that one.

“They are my best two for the day, I think.”

Lyon’s Townsville move is his second stint in Queensland in recent years, spending some time on the Darling Downs with Mark Currie last year.