Sam riding high with apprentice title
‘‘He has natural ability, he had to work on it, but Lance has been a huge help,’’ said Darryn.
‘‘Lance is tough, but Sam has stuck it out and full credit to him. He is with the best teacher.
‘‘I see myself in him and I am extremely proud. He is living the dream.
‘‘I was excited for him. I thought if he can get it out of his system and say he has ridden on race day and half a dozen winners, well and good.
‘‘To achieve what he has, has exceeded my expectations.’’
It’s far exceeded Sam’s expectations too.
Sam says achieving Apprentice of the Year was never his intention, he just wanted to make a career as a jockey and follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather.
‘‘It was always something wanted to do.
‘‘It’s a pretty big adrenalin rush, having that 550 kilos of muscle underneath you.’’
After three years working with the Wexford horses, Cambridge trainers Craig Thornton and Sam Logan had Sam riding Legnani in his first race meet in Rotorua.
She placed last, but Sam’s first race is always fresh in his mind.
‘‘It was a pretty big day, pretty exciting.
‘‘I had never been in the starting gates before or ridden professionally, it was a big thing for me.’’ I
He didn’t place any better at the next few race meets, but he earned his first win on the back of trainer Ernie Griffiths horse, Maddie Fae.
What made his first win even sweeter was it was achieved at his home track in Matamata and the wins just kept on coming.
‘‘Getting the Apprentice of the Year was a huge feeling, especially been my season of riding.
‘‘Last season I rode 67 winners, this season I’d like to get to 80.
‘‘I really want to just give it my best and do even better.
‘‘Dad and Lance watch every race. They are both as critical as each other, they are the best two people to be helping me out.’’
Sam says he feels privileged to first full be learning from Lance, who he describes as tough but fair.
His long term goals are to race in Australia or Hong Kong, and he knows that when the time is right, he will get there.
‘‘Lance will let me know when I am ready and I’ll feel it in myself.’’
And for Lance, there is no doubt in his mind that Sam will achieve his dreams.
‘‘He started off a bit slow, then he got going, then he went through a bad patch, and then in last four months he has really performed well.
‘‘Now he has just gone to the next level.
‘‘This will be the first time I have had a leading apprentice in New Zealand, others have started with us and then gone on to be successful.
‘‘He is smart. He does the form, he knows the opposition and that’s taken him a long way.’’
Horse trainer Darryn Weatherley, riding alongside his son Sam, when Sam was just 14 years old.
Sam Weatherley after recieving his Apprentice of the Year award, with his parents Darryn and Louise, and sisters Briar and Paige.