Richard Eynon didn't want to ride Bennyosler in the Hawke's Bay Hurdles last month, but you'd have trouble getting him off the back of the "little cockroach with a big heart" for today's Wellington Hurdles.

Eynon thought the Hastings track would be too dry for Bennyosler in the Hawke's Bay Hurdles two weeks ago, but the tough gelding revelled in the dead going, turning the tables on Birchwood Run, who beat him in the Manawatu Hurdles a fortnight earlier, in a stirring finish.

"I thought it would be too firm for him, but Wheels [trainer John Wheeler] thought differently," Eynon said.

"I wanted to be on High Season, but he said Bennyosler was the better horse. It was a super win from the little cockroach with a big heart."

The nickname came from one of Bennyosler's owners.

It was a case of boss knows best and Eynon, 29, is happy to acknowledge that as he enjoys his best season as a jumps jockey, mainly through his association with Wheeler's stable.

He sits third on the jumps jockeys premiership for the 2008-09 season with 12 wins - behind Jo Rathbone with 19 and Tommy Hazlett with 15 - but it has been this winter that he has made his mark, with nine wins.

Eynon, who hails from Rangitukia, 25km northeast of Ruatoria, teamed up with the Wheeler stable about four years ago.

He said he had no early interest in horses.

"My brothers were keen, but all I wanted to do was be an All Black."

He fell into racing through a fluke.

"My Mum was doing a course about horses at Wanganui and I used to pick her up every day.

"I was waiting to go into the Army, but to help her out one day I jumped on one of the horses and they said 'you look good on a horse'. So I flagged the Army and kept riding horses.

"It snowballed from there. I worked for Ross McCarroll, who didn't have all that much work for me and he recommended Ken and Ann Browne. I didn't even know who Ken Browne was, but they started me jumping horses and I got the bug."

Eynon has four rides at today's meeting, all for Wheeler, and has no hesitation in labelling Bennyosler as the best of them.

"He's great. You put a jump in front of him and he just loves it."

Bennyosler also seems to be able to cope with all surfaces, but will need his best winter form today, with Trentham rated at the extreme heavy 11 level last night with showers forecast.

The $50,000 hurdles (3400m) are being run on the course proper, with the inside hurdles track deemed unsafe this week.

Eynon has not ridden over the jumps at Trentham before. It's not a problem for the hurdles, but the steeplechases are run over the country's only figure 8 course.

"I'm trying to watch as many videos of past steeples there as I can and am speaking to former jockeys like Chad Northcott, Tina Egan and Brendon Greig."

He will also be getting plenty of advice from Wheeler.

He rides Vanak in the $50,000 Wellington Steeplechase (5500m) and thinks he will be a good chance, though like the jockey the horse is a newcomer to the figure 8 track.

"He is learning with every run, but this is a big step up for him. The open jumpers race tighter together than they do in the maiden races."

- NZPA