09/26/2002 11:00PM

Northlands Jockey race comes down to the wire


EDMONTON, Alberta - Quincy Welch and Rickey Walcott are battling for the meet's riding honors at Northlands Park.

Welch and Walcott are two of the five Northlands jockeys who hail from Barbados.

It has been nip-and-tuck between them, and just when it appeared that Walcott was about to establish his claim to the title, up popped Welch with three stakes wins on Alberta Fall Classics Day to regain first place last weekend.

Heading into this weekend, Welch had a margin of two wins with a total of 63.

The riding contingent from Barbados has helped to solidify a jockey colony at Northlands that had grown short in numbers in recent years.

Another Barbadian, Anderson Trotman, is fourth in the Northlands standings, and his compatriot Desmond Bryan has squeezed into the top 10. The fifth member of the group, Renaldo Cumberbatch, does not see as much service but has been in the money 22 percent of the time.

Whereas the meet title is still in the air, Welch seems assured of his third Alberta crown in his four years here. Perry Winters interrupted his reign last year, but Welch has bounced back with a vengeance. He was the leading rider at Stampede Park last spring, with a margin of 10 over Walcott and 16 over Winters.

Winters currently is a distant third at Northlands with 41 wins.

Meanwhile, Northlands will be without jockey Stephan Heiler for the final month of the season. Heiler has accepted an offer to ride at Macau in Asia, instead of riding in his native Germany during the Alberta off-season.

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