Hodder rides high to win May sports awards
SPORTS AWARDS :For most jockeys a hat-trick of wins is a rare achievement but Grafton jockey Belinda Hodder has surpassed that.
A lightning start to May handed Hodder a trio of hat-tricks but she was not done.
A final treble at Murwillumbah on Sunday helped Hodder to 15 race wins for the month and put her head and shoulders above the rest to claim the Grafton Shoppingworld Senior Sportsperson of the Month award.
Joining Hodder in the winners circle as the Junior Sportsperson of the Month is South Grafton Rebels rugby league prospect Jamal Laurie.
Laurie's exploits both on and off the pitch make him a leading example for the indigenous community as he works his way towards his dream of playing in the NRL.
Back at the track, Hodder said it was one of her best months in the saddle as she blitzed through races up and down the east coast.
"It is amazing. It would be classified a big month for any jockey really," she said.
"I'm always happy with a treble but to get four in a month is an incredible feeling."
Hodder said she was not doing anything differently during the run of form, and put her success down to a strong support network.
"I've just got a good team around me. I'm managed by Nathan Daniels from All Things Thoroughbread in Coffs Harbour," she said.
"My partner Drew Smith works really hard behind the scenes as well.
"It's momentum sport because the more opportunities you get, the more success you can have. All my hard work has finally started paying off."
As other sports have felt the burden of a temporary hiatus, Hodder was delighted her industry had maintained such stability during Covid-19.
"It's sensational. I'm so blessed that racing has come through it relatively unscathed," she said.
"I feel sorry for the people at home who simply can't continue to work. Racing NSW done a great job."
Hodder was preparing for another full day of racing in Cessnock where she was looking to maintain her hot streak.
"I'll have my work cut out for me but there should be a coupe of good chances," she said.
She said was also looking forward to closing out the season with more success at Grafton and Coffs Harbour carnivals.
"I've just notched my 50th winner for the season so far with around two months to go. I'll be heading into the July Carnival l looking to ride a few more winners," she said.
"I'd love to finish the season strong and I hope racing keeps going the same way."
Hodder's feats have sent her rocketing up the Northern Rivers Racing Association premierships, sitting in second place behind fellow Grafton jockey and sports award winner for April, Matthew McGuren.
Much like McGuren, Hodder has struck up a partnership with Murwillumbah-based premiership-leading trainer Matt Dunn, and the pair could do some real damage on the track in the years to come.