After a taste of Caviar, Bell’s keen on a comeback
Right-hand man: Patrick Bell, right, handles the Peter Moody-trained Black Caviar after her Diamond Jubilee Stakes win.
Patrick Bell, 24, a former New Zealand jockey, says his immediate focus is his role as a track rider for Australia’s premier trainer Peter Moody but he has revealed a growing desire to return to the saddle on raceday.
‘‘Black Caviar is my No 1 priority at the moment and I want to see that through,’’ Bell said this week.
‘‘That’s something you don’t want to miss.
‘‘But I’d love to do it. Certainly one of my ambitions is to ride again, especially when you start getting into the spring racing – it makes you want to get back out there and into it.
‘‘It’s been in the back of my mind for a good six months now but with Black Caviar being around, it would be hard to leave that to ride raceday.’’
Bell hasn’t ridden since May 2010, soon after which he headed to Melbourne and linked up with Moody.
He rode 122 winners over five years as a jockey, mainly as an apprentice with Grant Searle at Levin and Awapuni.
Bell, who struggled with his riding weight at the end of his last stint as a jockey, has attracted plenty of media attention in Australia through his association with the unbeaten Black Caviar, regarded as the world’s best sprinter and a racehorse regularly compared with Phar Lap in terms of popularity.
Bell accompanied the mare to England and was her strapper when she won the Gr I Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
Though he would get more opportunities as a jockey in New Zealand, Bell said he would probably ride in Australia when the time came for his return.
‘‘If I’m going to ride, I’d have to look at the positives of riding over here compared to back home,’’ he said.
‘‘The money is better, there’s more racing, the weather’s better. So if I was to ride and my weight was good I probably look at riding here before I moved home.
‘‘Travelling to England and around Australia has opened my eyes. New Zealand is always going home. I’ve grown up there and my families and friends are there. It’s possible I could return home but it will be just what I feel at the time.
‘‘My weight’s at a level where I could look at getting it down over a period of time. I’m walking about 62-63 kilos at the moment, so it’s not through the roof.
‘‘I’m pretty happy doing what I’m doing at the moment but certainly if there was a good opportunity that was worth taking then I would.’’
Bell, who hopes to head home for a holiday in December – after the spring carnival in Victoria – to catch up with his family and friends, said he was unsure whether Black Caviar would race again.
Moody has already ruled out a spring campaign after Black Caviar suffered muscle injuries in England, though he had flagged the possibility of an autumn return.
Bell said Black Caviar has nothing left to prove on racetrack and though he’d miss the regular contact with the mare, he felt she should be retired, though he knew Moody would make the right decision.
‘‘Honestly I don’t know,’’ he said.
‘‘All I know is that at the Victorian Racing Awards in September Pete’s going to sit down with all the owners and go through the options and work out where they go from there. ‘‘Personally I think she’s done enough. I’d like to see her retired.’’