Jockey Chris Nicoll has shelved plans to return to Melbourne and will extend his stay in Western Australia.
For the past three years the Victorian-born hoop has crissed-crossed the Nullarbor and called Broome home during the northern WA winter months.
At the end of the Broome season his habit has been to go back to Melbourne and pick up where he left off with one of Australia’s biggest racing operations.
But a combination of the WA lifestyle, a desire to break into Perth riding ranks and a need to satisfy his competitive instincts, Nicoll has opted for a stint west.
“I usually go back home when Broome finishes and ride track work for Lloyd Williams,” Nicoll told The Races WA.
“I’ve been doing that for the last couple of years and it’s something I can always go back to.
“I’ve still got the competitive instincts to want to ride in races.
“It’s hard riding track work on good horses when you know you can’t be on them on game day.
“I have no commitments in Melbourne and at this stage I will stay in Perth and see how it goes.
“I’m based at Ascot and getting good support from trainers like Steve Wolfe and Dan Morton and would like to stay for at least 12-months.”
Ironically Nicoll’s introduction to WA racing came from Warrnambool trainer, Jackie Henderson.
The 41-year-old had six successful years in WA and won the 2017 Roebourne Cup with Boys Getaround Him.
Now back in Warrnambool, Henderson is working for trainer, Aaron Purcell.
Nicoll said Henderson’s call came out of the blue.
“Jackie gave me a call because she was looking for an experienced rider to handle a couple of her difficult horses.” Nicoll said.
“I had a knack with hard horses and that’s how the connection came about.
“It was purely by chance as I didn’t know Jackie.
“My first winner in WA came for Jackie with Our Shakira in the Marble Bar Cup.
“I’ve now won three Marble Cups, two Roebourne Cups and a Kimberley Cup.
“I ran second in this year’s Broome Cup so maybe next year.”
Despite carving out successful career as a jockey, Nicoll had no family connection or link to racing.
“My sisters and brother are not connected to racing,” Nicoll said.
“One is in finance, one is a mental health nurse and the other is teaching English at a Japanese school.
“My dad owned a few horses but that was about it really.
“Ever since I got a job as a 15-year-old at Caulfield I developed a passion for the races.”
Nicoll will ride Captain Jack at Bunbury’s season opening meeting on Wednesday.