Single Gaze retirement reignites Billy Owen's career as jockey

Canberra jockey Billy Owen admits he was too young and immature during his first foray into horse racing but believes he's learnt the lessons to make his comeback a success.

Owen, 25, jumped out the saddle when he was still a teenager to become a foreman for ACT trainer Nick Olive and went on "one hell of a ride" with his stable-star Single Gaze.

Billy Owen training on Single Gaze ahead of the Melbourne Cup last year.

Billy Owen training on Single Gaze ahead of the Melbourne Cup last year.

Single Gaze secured her spot as Canberra's greatest horse after a runner-up finish at the Caulfield Cup last year and retired after the Sydney autumn.

One career ending gave another new life as Owen decided it was time to have a second crack in the saddle. He will ride out of Olive's stable for the next two years.

"It had always been in the back of my mind since I gave up about six years ago, then Single Gaze came along and gave us the ride of a lifetime but now she’s gone," Owen said.

"All good things come to an end and I wouldn't change a thing over the past five or six years, it was one hell of a ride, but her retirement has provided a good outcome for me.

"In my first stint I got injured a couple of times and my weight just got the better of me, I was too young to understand how to manage it.

"I'm older and more mature now and understand the game a bit better. This is what I've always wanted to do, I'm just getting back to where I started.

"Hopefully I can make the most of it this time and have no regrets. It's all about your head space and what you really want in the end."

Owen raced as a teenager at 53.5 kilograms but has moved to 55.5kgs and said the extra weight makes a massive difference.

After dominating at the picnic races in recent years, Owen wants to prove himself a step up in class and has four rides booked at Thoroughbred Park on Friday.

But the young hoop emphasised he wasn't getting ahead of himself.

"I'm just trying to get back into the swing of things and get my weight right before I start thinking too far ahead," Owen said.

"I've got no [apprentice] claim in the country and 3kgs at provincial and metro [meetings].

"I've 18 months left on my apprenticeship and if all things are going well I'll look to use that claim to the best of my advantage.

"I'm still with Nick and we have a relationship where we bounce ideas off each other and that's not gonna change, we’re more good mates rather than boss and apprentice."

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