Sam bring­ing home the win­ners

Matamata Chronicle - - What’s On -

‘‘It’s a long way to the win­ning post at Te Aroha but Sam main­tained his rhythm to get the best from the big bay.’’

Boy­hood dreams of be­com­ing a jockey are now be­ing re­alised by 17-year-old Sam Weather­ley, whose four wins in a short space of time have drawn plau­dits from across the rac­ing in­dus­try.

Sam brought home his first win­ner on his home track on June 1 at just his fourth race­day ride, and his ca­reer has con­tin­ued apace with a dou­ble at Ruakaka last Satur­day and an­other at Te Aroha on Sun­day.

That fourth ca­reer win was spe­cial, his first for his men­tor, for­mer cham­pion jockey Lance O’Sul­li­van.

The win­ning mount was Prize Lord, who is trained in part­ner­ship by Lance and An­drew Scott.

As noted when he rode Maddee Fae to her all-the-way win at Mata­mata three weeks ago and also with his Ruakaka dou­ble, Sam is be­ing recog­nised for the way horses run for him.

Prize Lord, a son of dual Auck­land Cup win­ner Prize Lady, also wanted to put him­self right in the ac­tion from the start of the 1400-me­tre maiden race, but his young rider man­aged to set­tle him be­hind the lead­ing group be­fore lodg­ing his bid at the top of the straight.

It’s a long way to the win­ning post at Te Aroha but Sam main­tained his rhythm to get the best from the big bay and com­fort­ably held out the Michael Cole­man-rid­den Oops Tommy.

Ob­vi­ous tal­ent com­bined with his cur­rent four-kilo­gram ap­pren­tice claim po­si­tions Sam well to make the most of his op­por­tu­ni­ties and be­come a suc­cess­ful third gen­er­a­tion jockey in the tra­di­tion of his grand­fa­ther Dan and fa­ther Dar­ryn.

The re­wards these days for any as­pir­ing jockey are al­most bound­less and with a com­bi­na­tion of fam­ily sup­port and men­tor­ing from those with the wis­dom of ex­pe­ri­ence, Sam has it all front of him.

An ex­am­ple of what might await is a pre­de­ces­sor at Wex­ford Sta­bles, Rory Hutch­ings, who like­wise be­gan his ap­pren­tice­ship af­ter be­ing granted an ex­emp­tion to leave Mata­mata Col­lege be­fore the manda­tory time.

Rory’s ini­tial years were a mix­ture of nat­u­ral abil­ity and some lack of self-dis­ci­pline, but his ma­tu­rity en­abled him to be­come cham­pion New Zealand ap­pren­tice in 2013-14.

Nor did he stop there. He trans- ferred from the Roger­son sta­ble to cham­pion ex­pat Chris Waller in Syd­ney and just last week he com­pleted his in­den­tures as Syd­ney’s top ap­pren­tice.

Mata­mata’s lead­ing sta­ble took a sig­nif­i­cant step to­wards an­other train­ers’ pre­mier­ship when Esprit de Corps won at Te Aroha on Sun­day.

That marked a mile­stone cen­tury for Te Akau Rac­ing part­ners Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards and in their first full sea­son to­gether put them seven wins clear of de­fend­ing ti­tle­hold­ers Mur­ray Baker and An­drew Fors­man.

The pow­er­ful Te Akau op­er­a­tion has won five pre­vi­ous pre­mier­ships, each of them last decade un­der the man­age­ment of Mark Walker be­fore he re­lo­cated to Sin­ga­pore, where he has em­u­lated his pre­vi­ous achieve­ments with an off-shore pre­mier­ship last year.

Sam Weather­ley is all smiles as he re­turns in the Wex­ford Sta­bles colours on his Te Aroha win­ner Prize Lord.

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