Expat New Zealand jumps jockey Aaron Kuru is starting to hit his straps in Australia, and he is loving every moment of it.
It’s a stark contrast to his feelings shortly after moving across the Tasman a year ago, but the 30-year-old rider has settled in and is starting to find himself aboard some quality jumpers.
Elvison’s 25 length victory in the Two Rivers Steeplechase (3800m) at Casterton on Sunday continued Kuru’s good run of form, and he said he is grateful to trainers like Symon Wilde for putting him on their horses.
“I am just starting to find a bit of form, I didn’t have anything last year,” Kuru said.
“Last year was a little bit frustrating, just not being able to get on the right horses, but I think I am getting the gist of it all now.
“This horse (Elvison) has definitely helped me. It looked a nice race for him on paper, he still had to go out and jump every fence. He did that very well and got into a nice rhythm, got to every fence nicely, and finished off nicely as well.”
A leading jumps jockey in New Zealand, Kuru felt it was the right time to move across the Tasman last year to test his talents in the competitive Australian jumping scene.
While it has taken a little longer than he had hoped to settle into his new environment, he is glad he decided to take the plunge and follow his intuition.
“I am happy that I made the move. I wasn’t thinking that last year, but it is paying off now,” he said.
“I needed to make the move and I felt it was the right step in my career at the time.
“It is always hard leaving what you know for the unknown. I had a really good partnership with Paul Nelson and Corrina McDougall. That was really hard to leave.
“I wasn’t sure how I was going to get on over here. I just needed to find the next level and improve.
“You can’t ride forever and at the end of my career I didn’t want to regret not going to Australia. I had to come over and test it for myself, and I am glad I did.
“It took a lot of trust on their (trainers) behalf to put me on. I have had a couple of chances on a few nice horses and have done quite well, so I think that has propelled me forward, and that is how I ended up on Elvison.
“You can’t get anywhere without the good stock in Australia, and I was lucky enough to get on one.”
A major highlight for Kuru during his time in Australia has been riding at the Warrnambool May carnival.
“The May carnival was unreal. There is nothing like it anywhere in the world. It was great to be a part of that,” he said.
Kuru said he is committed to making a go of things in Australia but said he will always have time to come back and ride for trainers in New Zealand like Paul Nelson and Corrina McDougall, who were great supporters of his in his homeland.
“I got a one-way ticket and that’s all I know,” he said.
“I don’t plan on going back to New Zealand anytime soon. When I settle down with a family I think I would like to go back to New Zealand, but right now I am pretty set on staying in Australia.
“But if I ever get a phone call from them (Nelson and McDougall) asking me to come over and ride I will be on the first plane over.
“I love riding for that stable, they have brought me a long way in my riding career, and if it wasn’t for them I definitely wouldn’t be in Australia at the moment.
“I owe a lot to them and if they ever need me to go and ride I will happily do that if I can.”