Skip to main navigation Skip to main content
  1. Home
  2. News
  3. October 2021
  4. Jockey Jason Missen regains his love for riding

Jockey Jason Missen regains his love for riding

IMG-6487.jpgBy Jordan Gerrans

There would not be many jockeys in the Sunshine State with the weekly routine that Jason Missen has.

The 45-year-old lives in Brisbane and will on almost every weekend fly out to the North West or Central West of Queensland chasing race rides.

When he does get to Cloncurry, Longreach, Jundah or a track not far away, it will be the only time for the week he actually gets on a galloper.

The former Victorian-based hoop has in recent years given up on riding track work during the week, instead aiming to roll up race day, fresh in the mind and in his body and boot home winners.

The method has certainly worked in recent weeks, claiming the Longreach and Cloncurry Cups, and he is on track to have his most prolific season in the saddle over the last decade in campaign 2021-22.

He already has nine winners to his name in the middle of October, well on the way to surpassing the 15 victories he piloted back in 2017-18.

When Missen first moved to Queensland in 2013, he rode plenty of track work at Ipswich and Toowoomba but has since opted to go without the early morning alarms.

“I do not do any track work anymore, I used to, I find now I can keep myself fit enough with gym and cycling and those sort of things,” Missen said.

“I can just then go to race day and be fresh into race day – it is like an old race horse – leave him alone all week and let him go on race day and he still goes all right.

“Across my career I have done it where I have ridden lots of track work or a little bit of track work during the week, and sometimes it wears you down if you are riding 10-15 a morning, it is that physically hard.

“I was not enjoying it when I was riding that much, but now it really suits me what I am doing.

“I choose to keep myself fit off horses and just turn up race day.

“It is certainly helping my mind because I am not tired and worn down, sometimes you just get sick of being around horses if you have too much of it.”

Missen has struck up a close bond with the Longreach stable of Mark Oates and the impressive Van Winkel, who has provided him with his two recent Cup triumphs.

No longer riding track work on top his race riding, Missen pays the bills by driving a truck around Brisbane for JBS Foods Australia, which brands itself the country's largest meat and food processing company.

Ironically, JBS Foods Australia was the sponsor of the Cloncurry Cup for 2021, which Missen and in-form middle-distance galloper Van Winkel claimed.

49e76fd2-8e05-44f5-9307-bda215f7cf52.jpgThe Oates stable is not a massive one but when they do have a starter in the bush, they usually like to get Missen on board.

“Jason, he flies out to the west every weekend; he rides for everyone and now is my main jockey,” Oates said.

"He has been great for us and been riding well of late."

It has been a long and windy road towards Missen being on track to record his best ever season in Queensland as 2022 approaches.

He completed his apprentiship in Victoria and rode for five years before he gave it away in 2000 after struggling to get his weight down to a consistent low level.

During Missen’s time away from race riding in Victoria, he spent time forklift driving, truck driving and rode some track work to earn a living.

On reflection, Missen says the competition for rides was tough on the country and provincial circuit in Victoria as he battled to ride 52kgs and lower.

“It put me off the job,” he recalled.

“I still loved horses and riding in races but I thought there has got to be an easier way to make a dollar.

“But now, the weight scale up here is usually 55-56 kgs and it is much easier, I do not have to lose too much weight.”

Missen’s father drove a truck, which got him into the occupation, and says when he does eventually give up riding in races, that will be his sole job focus.

His return to race riding came in 2013 when he relocated from Victoria to Queensland and started riding work again and it eventually progressed from there.

He admits the weight scale being higher in the Sunshine State at that stage helped his cause, as he was a regular in the mornings at Ipswich and Toowoomba.

He has since found a new lease on life in the western area of Queensland over the last year.

27a11509-1c48-41ee-a7f9-7caa59f0ce75.jpg“Since I have been coming to Central Queensland, I have been really loving my racing,” Missen said.

“The owners and trainers have been fantastic out here to me.”

Magnus gelding Van Winkel added the 2021 Cloncurry Cup to his resume, just weeks after he became a Longreach Cup winner - on both occasions ridden by Missen.

The 2021 Cloncurry Cup champion has now booked his entry for the $105,000 Country Cups Challenge Final in Brisbane in early December on two separate occasions. 

Missen is hopeful that he can retain the ride on the big stage at Doomben later this year but understands if Oates or the owner were to book a regular metropolitan riding hoop, declaring it wont be the first time he was taken off a horse he had a winning record on.