Baster Back In Saddle After Ninja Warrior

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Racing provides jockey Stephen Baster with a living but he’s also one for trying different physical pursuits.

Until recently Baster competed in triathlete events, mixing swimming, cycling and running and now concentrates on the cycling discipline.

While most are familiar with Baster’s racetrack feats, television viewers got a different view of the jockey on Tuesday night.

He found an advertisement on social media asking for people to apply for Ninja Warrior and decided to take the leap.

“I sent it to a group of the boys asking “what do you reckon” and they were all for it as they wanted me to make a fool of myself,” Baster said.

But a fool he wasn’t.

While he didn’t make it through to the next round, he showed jockeys, generally slight of frame, are also hardened athletes.

Baster said it was an arduous process to join the show.

“They get something like 10,000 applications and if you get narrowed down to the last 1000 you go to a cross-fit gym where they run you through a series of exercises,” he said.

“I’m pretty sure there’s a few of the young blokes out there who would go better on the show than me.”

Once given the nod Baster had six weeks to get ready, training twice a week in between his riding commitments.

“There’s a lot that take a year off work to train for it and some are coming off at the first and second obstacles … the poor buggers,” he said.

“I was rapt to get as far as I did.

“There was a bit of luck involved, but it was all good fun.”

With Ninja Warrior done and dusted, Baster is back on the bike training for a 130km race, Amy’s Gran Fondo, at Lorne, in September ahead of the 235km Three Peaks Challenge at Falls Creek in March.

With bills to pay Baster is looking to the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Echo Lad providing him success in the Byerley Handicap at Flemington.

The winner of Saturday’s 1800m race gains automatic entry to November’s Victoria Derby or Victorian Oaks.

“Being two-year-olds they’ve obviously got to stay at this stage, but being one of Gai’s, you think it would,” Baster said.

“I told Adrian I thought it might be a good race for him and they were happy to send him down.”

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