Mata­mata ap­pren­tices de­liver re­sults

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - DEN­NIS RYAN

One of rac­ing’s most dis­cussed top­ics is the lack of depth in our ap­pren­tice jockey ranks, so it’s heart­en­ing to see Mata­mata’s ju­nior riders hold­ing up their end of the bar­gain.

Satur­day’s Tau­ranga race meet­ing was a case in point, when Sam Weather­ley notched a dou­ble to take his tally at the top of the ap­pren­tice ta­ble to 44, and Anna Jones chimed in with a clever win­ning ride on Woods­man in the day’s fea­ture stay­ing race.

Tak­ing up the run­ning in the Bay of Plenty Cup, Anna let the grey stroll along in front be­fore let­ting the brakes off with 700 me­tres to run and es­tab­lish­ing an unas­sail­able lead.

At the line Woods­man had the race in the bag for trainer Tony Gil­lies, who races him in part­ner­ship with his wife Pam and sta­ble stal­wart Roy Thomp­son.

For 25-year-old Anna Jones, it was an­other big win to go with Our King Sway’s Gr. 3 Taranaki Cup vic­tory in Fe­bru­ary, which had com­pleted her first cen­tury of wins and with that, the loss of her ap­pren­tice claim.

Hav­ing to ride on equal terms with se­nior jock­eys and thereby get­ting fewer op­por­tu­ni­ties can be a chal­lenge for ap­pren­tices, how­ever it cer­tainly hasn’t hin­dered an­other lo­cal, last sea­son’s cham­pion ju­nior, Shaun McKay.

His last win for 2015-16 was also his 100th, and since then he has notched up an­other 30.

That might not com­pare with the 70 wins he notched last term, but it still has him in the top 20 on the na­tional jock­eys’ premier­ship, proof enough that at age 20 he is hold­ing his own against all- com­ers.

The ap­pren­tice ti­tle cur­rently held by Shaun looks like stay­ing in town when the sea­son ends on July 31, with an­other Mata­mataborn and raised lad, Sam Weather­ley, mak­ing great strides less than a year af­ter don­ning silks.

The 17-year-old rode his first win­ner in early June and added an­other seven be­fore the end of last sea­son.

At the two-thirds stage of the cur­rent term his tally stands at 44, with a dou­ble on Chi­cane and Ruby Bloom at Tau­ranga lat­est achieve­ment.

The fact that both those horses are trained in Cam­bridge, and his re­cent Auck­land Cup day win­ner Sul­tan Of Swing hails from Ruakaka un­der­lines the broad base to his suc­cess. his

That’s one part of Sam’s de­vel­op­ment as a jockey, which also in­cludes an im­pres­sive range of tac­ti­cal skills, all of which are honed by the sup­port group he has around him, headed by his em­ployer, for­mer cham­pion jockey Lance O’Sul­li­van.


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