JOCKEY Brendan Ward has an unassailable lead in the Southern District jockey premiership.
He made sure he would win the title by riding a winning double at Wagga on Friday.
With only two meetings to go, at Narrandera and Wagga, this season, Ward has 36 wins — eight more than nearest rival Jake Duffy.
Duffy did not ride at Wagga after injuring himself in trackwork earlier on Friday.
Wodonga’s Nick Souquet has 25 winners and Simon Miller and Wagga apprentice Nick Heywood 24 each.
Souquet, who claimed the premiership last season, was a chance of winning successive titles before fracturing his thumb in April.
He last rode at Wangaratta on April 26.
He is expected to be back in the saddle before the end of the month after surgery.
Heywood has been the big mover over the past month to force his way into the top five.
The claiming apprentice combined with father, Chris, to win aboard Ketchum at Wagga on Friday to draw level with Miller.
He also has a stranglehold on the apprentice’s premiership.
The trainer’s title is also a foregone conclusion, with Albury’s Brett Cavanough (47 winners) well clear of Wagga’s Trevor Sutherland (32).
Cavanough, who has won the title nine times, has easily topped his previous best of 40 winners in a season.
Chris Heywood is in third spot on 31 winners after landing a winning treble at Wagga — Luna Tune, Ketchum and Asunder.
Heywood only moved to Wagga this season after spending more than a decade training first at Harden then Young.
And that has paid immediate dividends because he holds a narrow lead over Sutherland in The Murrumbidgee Turf Club trainer’s premiership.
Wagga trainer Gary Colvin (23) and Brian Cox (18) round out the top five.