Adkins in the Zone for $1 million Gong

Adkins in the Zone for $1 million Gong

Seven months ago, Andrew Adkins was lying in a hospital bed, his body battered and a multitude of bones broken after a fall in a carnival race at Randwick.

He had three fractures in his back, a fractured sternum and ribs, and two fractures to his face.

It was a long and arduous road back, not just to return to race riding but to re-establish himself in one of the most competitive racing arenas in the world.

But Adkins is anything if not determined.

He put his head down, worked hard and put his hand up to do extras when needed.

Two weeks ago, the promising young rider was rewarded with his biggest payday when he won the $1 million Golden Gift at Rosehill aboard the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Dame Giselle.

On Saturday at Kembla Grange, Adkins will link with the same training team in a quest to capture a second $1 million race in as many weeks aboard Military Zone in The Gong (1600m).

“Things are going well. I’m getting some good support and I’m working hard at the moment to try to retain rides, pick up rides and get the trainers to notice my form,” Adkins said.

“I’m lucky I’m getting return favours and I’m very thankful for that.”

In a vote of confidence, the Snowdens opted to retain Adkins for the Gong ride despite fielding calls from several jockeys keen to snare the mount.

Adkins rode Military Zone in the Golden Eagle in which the four-year-old finished a respectable seventh behind Epsom Handicap winner Kolding and beat home Group One winner Brutal and top sprinter Classique Legend.

It is a form reference that has the horse rated among the top five market picks for the inaugural running of The Gong.

“He held his own in that race against some pretty strong competitors,” Adkins said.

“It was A-grade and this is a little bit of a step back so it suits him well.”

A dual Group Three winner over 1400 metres, Military Zone will be stretching to a mile for the first time on Saturday.

Adkins felt he handled 1500 metres well in the Golden Eagle and could see no reason the horse would not be suited by the extra distance.

“Peter and Paul have him in tip-top condition and I don’t have any worries about him running the distance,” Adkins said.

Military Zone is one of seven rides for Adkins at the stand-alone Saturday meeting at Kembla.

He also has three mounts for leading local trainer Gwenda Markwell – Esteem Spirit, I Am Magnificent and I Am Capitan – and would love to deliver her a win a hometown win.

“It would be great to get a winner for Gwenda,” Adkins said.

“I’ve got three rides for her and it’s always good to be on her horses at her home track.

“They can all run really nice races.”

Credit: AAP