Sam on tar­get to mile­stone

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - DEN­NIS RYAN

A win­less week­end hasn’t de­terred 18-year-old Sam Weather­ley from his pri­mary goal for the 2016-17 rac­ing sea­son, the New Zealand ap­pren­tice jock­eys’ ti­tle.

One win at last Wed­nes­day’s Te Teko race meet­ing took Sam’s sea­son tally to 58, which with six weeks re­main­ing to the end of the sea­son gives him a handy buf­fer of 14 wins over his clos­est ri­val, Otago ap­pren­tice Ja­cob Lowry.

This time last year fel­low Mata­mata ap­pren­tice McKay was well on the way to his own ap­pren­tice ti­tle, which he achieved with 70 wins that took his ca­reer tally to ex­actly 100. Reach­ing the cen­tury also meant the loss of ap­pren­tice claim, and Shaun has done well since hav­ing to ride against se­nior jock­eys on equal terms to ride 41 win­ners this sea­son.

When Sam hit 60 ca­reer wins last month his claim was re­duced to one kilo­gram and while that has im­pacted to some de­gree on his num­ber or race­day rides and he knows it’s not over till it’s over, he’s feel­ing com­fort­able in the count­down to July 31.

‘‘Ev­ery­thing’s tick­ing over nicely, I can’t com­plain so far,’’ says Sam. ‘‘I’m stay­ing ahead of the pack and if I can keep get­ting a win­ner here or there I’m hop­ing to end the sea­son on top.’’

With a fa­ther and grand­fa­ther who both rode suc­cess­fully, and hav­ing Hall Of Fame jockey Lance O’Sul­li­van as his em­ployer, Sam has a wealth of sound ad­vice to guide him.

‘‘I’m so lucky to have them, plus there’s the ap­pren­tice men­tor Noel Har­ris to help me and se­nior jock­eys like Mickey Cole­man who are a big help,’’ he says.

‘‘If some­one had said to me three years ago that I was go­ing to be lead­ing the ap­pren­tice pre­mier­ship I wouldn’t have be­lieved them. It just goes to show what you can achieve if you be­lieve in your­self.’’

‘‘I'm stay­ing ahead of the pack and if I can keep get­ting a win­ner here or there I'm hop­ing to end the sea­son on top.’’

SUPPLIED

Sam Weather­ley has a handy break on his ri­vals as he eyes the ap­pren­tice jock­eys’ pre­mier­ship.

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