EDMONTON, Alberta – It was almost like he never left.
Eight-time Northlands Park champion Rico Walcott, showed little signs of rustiness as he logged his first wins of the new season at Century Mile in another emotional step in his comeback over the weekend.
The 29-year-old’s success came just 3-½ months after undergoing serious surgery to remove a brain tumor, which had resulted in him suffering four seizures in the space of an hour last March.
Ruled out of the start of the season in April, Walcott made his first appearance last Thursday when he finished sixth aboard For Cash in his solitary ride.
On Saturday, however, he made all the running aboard favourite Shanghai Mike to win his first race of the season in only his second start, in a five-furlong sprint in race two on the eight-race card.
While he went unplaced in his two other rides on the day, Walcott said he was thrilled just to be back in the saddle again.
“It felt good. It felt like I never had the surgery,” said the Barbadian. “I was hoping I’d get one (win). I knew I had a couple of good horses.”
Walcott went one better on Sunday’s seven-race card when he rode a double to snatch the headlines for something other than simply his return to racing.
He opened his account in race four over 6-½ furlongs aboard favourite Got My Mo, making all the running with the five-year-old dark bay gelding to brush aside the three-year-olds and upward by 1-¼ lengths.
Walcott then returned in race six over the same distance to score with another favourite Timely Prize, bringing the seven-year-old chestnut gelding from a stalking position to nail the pace-setter at the top of the stretch and romp to the wire 1-¾ lengths clear of the three-year-olds and upward.
Agent Bob Fowlis said Walcott was not yet back to full fitness and so would not feature heavily.
“That’s why we’re taking it slow,” he said.