Luke Tarrant rides first comeback winner

CALOUNDRA Aug 24 2016

Former star Queensland apprentice Luke Tarrant has ridden his first winner back from a troubled eight months on the sidelines.

His win on Airlie Reward in a maiden at the Sunshine Coast on Wednesday also honoured a promise Tarrant made to trainer Troy Hall.

Tarrant's problems began when racing authorities banned him for six months for returning a positive drug test.

He was later charged by police with drug and property offences which he will contest in court in December.

The 21-year-old hadn't ridden since December 23 when he resumed at the Gold Coast last Saturday and he was having his fourth ride back when he guided Airlie Reward to victory.

"I am glad to be back. It was the longest eight months of my life by far being away. I am keen to make up for lost time," Tarrant said.

"I have been riding ten horses a morning in track work and my fitness is coming good."

Hall, who mixes work as a horse dentist with training, has supported Tarrant in his comeback.

"Luke told me his first winner back would be for me and he has lived up to the claim," Hall said.

"There is one thing Luke can do very well and that is ride so hopefully he has learned his lesson and will make the most of his opportunities."

When his star was on the rise, Tarrant rode Rudy to win the 2014 Group Two Villiers Stakes and Le Chef to win the 2015 Magic Millions Classic.

Former country apprentice Rhiannon Payne rode her first winner for her new boss Kelso Wood when Yoho took the Class 5 (1600m) at the Sunshine Coast meeting.

"Rhiannon has ridden plenty of winners around the country areas and in the north. This was the first time I really had a chance to put her on a handy one," Wood said.

Mark Oberhardt - AAP

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