Who would have imagined? Eight of the top 10 country apprentices are female. ”Remarkable,” suggests Racing NSW chief training and employment officer Maurice Logue. “From when I first entered the racing industry there has been enormous changes in the jockeys’ room. The way the numbers and recruiting is going it won’t be long before females make up the bulk of riders, particularly in the country. It’s been a massive change.” Logue confirmed new apprentice enrolments were still dominated by females. Cassandra Schmidt (37 winners) heads the crop of country apprentices ahead of Courtney Van Der Werf (34) and Hannah Martin (31). Interestingly, Van Der Werf, born in New Zealand and riding in good form, is indentured to Scone trainer Greg Bennett, the man who broke in three-time Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva. Patrick Lo and Brodie Loy are the only males in the top 10. Gosford apprentice Jenny Duggan heads the state premiership with 40 wins, 13 accrued in the metropolitan area.
McCARNEY GETS ROLLING
Wellington trainer Garry McCarney saddled up his first winner since returning to the training ranks when Fox Solid won an open handicap on his home track on Monday. McCarney left racing for three years but now has a small team in work. Fox Solid, starting at $5.50 and ridden by Greg Ryan, beat Spectacular Iam and Plaisance. McCarney also trained Fox Solid’s dam Solid Mandala – a prolific winner and former Central Districts Horse of the Year.
CUPS RUNNETH OVER
Can Fair Nation complete a trifecta of south coast cups at the Sapphire Coast on Sunday? The Paul Murray-trained gelding has won the Narooma and Moruya cups and shoots for its fifth win in succession in the $35,000 Bega Cup (1600m) on Sunday. The son of Dubai Destination seems well weighted with 57.5kg, half a kilo less than he carried to victory at Moruya. Moruya trainer Luke Pepper has two strong chances in Quichang and Moruya Cup third placegetter Gregory’s Fortress. Pepper will also saddle up in-form mare Freetoair in the $25,000 Town Plate (1200m). If the seven-year-old wins as expected Pepper plans a start in the $175,000, group 2 Breeders Classic (1200m) at Rosehill on February 16.
STELLATOS STEPS UP
Racing NSW has appointed a new projects manager, Arthur Stellatos. Stellatos has already had discussions with numerous country clubs and advised them on capital works projects, badly needed in several areas. Meanwhile, Coffs Harbour is hoping monies are freed up soon to get its planned drainage and flood mitigation works under way. Coffs Harbour copped more than 400mm of rain in two days during the north coast’s big wet last week. “Apart from debris on the tracks, we didn’t fare too badly,” Coffs CEO Russ Atkinson said. “The grass will be open for horses to work on Friday. We had a working bee during the week. All the trainers came along to help, which was great to see.”
TAB meetings: Sunday – Mudgee, Sapphire Coast. Monday – Cessnock. Tuesday – Taree. Thursday – Grafton. Friday – Canberra, Walcha. Saturday – Coonabarabran, Nowra.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.