Wyong based apprentice Anna Roper has enjoyed the best possible start to her burgeoning career as a jockey, winning her first race ride.
The 19-year-old made the trip down south to Gundagai and was made to wait when competing in the last race, taking just the one ride when hopping aboard the Tony Newing-trained Alpha Go in the 1180m Benchmark 66 Handicap.
After starting well from gate six, Roper and Alpha Go jumped well and could have easily pushed on for the lead, but the young apprentice avoided the early-speed battle that was about to ensue between the John Rolfe-trained I Am Mamwaazal (Mick Heagney) and the Ron Weston and John Nisbet-trained Smuggler’s Run (Kayla Nisbet), instead choosing to sit in behind the leading pair.
Roper made her move before the turn and peeled four wide before exploding away to win by 1.67 lengths from Smugglers Run, while in third was the Dan McCarthy-trained Northernero (Fiona Sandkuhl).
Although the race didn’t go exactly to plan for Roper, she was tickled pink to win at her first race ride.
“I’m really happy,” Roper said.
“It wasn’t the run we expected. We wanted to be up the front a bit more but slotting back that wide around that turn; I was happy to go backwards on him.
“He had enough kick in the straight and I was really happy with how he finished off.”
Roper admitted there were nerves at times leading into her first race ride, but she treated the race as a trial, and was just happy to get the job done in front of her mum, who also made the trip down south.
“I just kept telling myself it was a trial. I just had to do a bit more in the straight,” Roper said.
“It was really nice to get the win first-up (and) mum is here today, so she’s stoked.”
Roper is apprentice to Tracey Barley, and she hoped to be riding for her master soon.
“He’s great. He hasn’t had a ride for me yet, but I’ve only just started today, so I’ll hopefully be riding one for him soon,” Roper said.
Newing, who has been following Roper and her trial results, was happy for the young jockey and pleased to see his four-year-old in the Gundagai winner’s circle.
“I’m stoked for the girl (Roper). She is a hard worker and I’ve been watching her at her trials, and she has a great seat on her and I was really happy to have the four kilos (off) today and it paid dividends,” Newing said.
In an action-packed day at Gundagai-Adelong Race Club, the $34,000 Gundagai Cup was won by the Craig Weeding-trained Prince of Helena ($2.60) from jockey Jake Duffy, who easily beat home Roman ($18) and Momack ($5).
Trainer/jockey Mick Travers won the first race, the Class One/Maiden 1700m Handicap, with Blessed Award ($8.50), finishing ahead of Zariz No Water ($41) and Shiny Rock ($15).
in the 1000m Maiden Handicap, Las Vegas Girl ($4.60) from trainers Robert and Luke Price and jockey Brock Ryan was too good for her rivals, winning by 2.8 lengths from Shez the Wolf ($17) and Star Writer ($41).
Local product Teighan Worsnop combined with Queanbeyan trainer Maree Hopkins to win the 1400m Maiden Plate on Gloraya ($21), finishing ahead of Think Rich ($9) and Aspired ($8).
Nat Jarvis and Shaun Guymer landed a nice winner in the 1180m Maiden Handicap, with Rhythmboat ($2.25) proving too good for Flying Grace ($17) and Serenata ($9.50).
In the 1000m Class One Handicap, My Bold Boy $3.10 delivered Albury trainer Mitch Beer and jockey Jason Lyon a win, beating home Clever Connection ($19) and Unique Vision $14).
Then in the 1400m Class Two Handicap, the Andrew Dale-trained Muwarrad ($15) broke through for a well-deserved win for jockey Jordy Mallyon, beating Anchorage ($8.50) and Super Helpful ($3.40).
For full results, click here.