New riders shine at the Park
The new apprentice riders who recently graduated from the Jockeys' School had an immediate impact on their first day in the saddle at Caymanas Park yesterday, three of them sharing five winners on the 10-race programme.
Linton Steadman and Odean Edwards led the way with two winners, both winning aboard their very first rides.
Steadman, 24, a past student of Waterford High, stunned the large crowd when winning aboard the 16-1 outsider, VISION, for champion trainer Wayne DaCosta in the third race over 1100 metres for the Keeling Memorial Cup. The grey colt ran on strongly from way off the pace to catch his previously unbeaten stable-companion DREAMLINER, the howling 1-5 favourite, in the closing stages.
That marked the start of an apprentice rout, as in the very next race, Hakeem Pottinger, the 21-year-old son of ex-jockey Michael Pottinger, brought 2-1 chance MARIA'S GLORY for trainer Gary Griffiths with a strong run for a decisive win over a mile.
It did not end there, as 21-year-old Odean Edwards had an armchair ride aboard his first ride, FIFTYONESTORM, at 8-5 in the fifth race over the straight and repeated the feat aboard 7-2 chance LUCKYBEGOOD, who made all impressively over 1300 metres in the sixth.
Edwards, who is popularly called 'Dino', secured as many as five rides on the card. A past student of Bridgeport High, Edwards is apprenticed to trainer Richard Azan.
Steadman rounded off a fantastic day for the apprentices with victory aboard the highly fancied SIR D for trainer Ryan Darby in the closing race over the straight for $180,000 claimers.
Outgoing principal of the Jockeys' School, Ina Lawrence, the JRC welfare officer, said she was elated that the youngsters came out on the first day and provided a treat for racing fans.
"It was a fitting retirement present on my last day at work. I go on pre-retirement leave after today and, mindful of this, they said they would do something special for me. Five winners from 10 races is more than enough," said Lawrence, who will be succeeded by Shantell Clarke.
Meanwhile, 'handicap certainty' PERFECT NEIGHBOUR romped the $1.2 million Governor General's Stakes over 2000 metres, winning the 56th running of the grade one race for the second straight year.
Ridden by in-form Robert Halledeen for trainer Wayne DaCosta, the 2013 derby and St. Leger winner, came through on the inside of long-time leader, UNCLE TAF, approaching the final bend and proceeding to beat reigning 'Horse of the Year', TYPEWRITER, by five lengths as the 1-2 favourite.
TODAY'S PROGRAMME, TIPS ON B6