Apprentices dominate as Shae Wilkes claims Narrabri Cup

Shae Wilkes rode the Marc Quinn-trained Crowie’s Shout to victory in Saturday’s Narrabri Cup. Image: Bradley Photos.

Following her maiden win at Tuncurry earlier this month, it didn’t take Shae Wilkes long to score her first feature race victory. 

Travelling to Narrabri on Saturday, Wilkes teamed up with Marc Quinn when riding the well-supported Crowie’s Shout in the $16,000 Narrabri Cup. 

Starting as a $1.70 favourite in the 1200m event, the Port Macquarie visitor was a class above his rivals when defeating the Michelle Fleming-trained Sir Donald (Matthew McGillivray, $12) by two lengths while four lengths back in third was the Douglas Fernando-trained Grenado (Jacob Golden, $8).

“Marc was very confident, and it was just whether he (Crowie’s Shout) could handle the dirt, and he definitely did,” Wilkes told NSW Country and Picnic Racing.

“The plan was to lead; if someone else wanted to lead at all costs, then we would take a sit, and we jumped and, on the inside, one wanted to lead no matter what. 

“So, I took the sit, one off the leader, and then, from the 600m, I just let him slowly work into the race; from the 400m, he hit the front and just kept going.

“I knew what I had underneath me, and he hadn’t carried that light of a weight for quite a few runs, so he was going to be hard to beat.”

While her first win on the Wayne Wilkes-trained Cool Duke was a thrilling affair at Tuncurry, Wilkes said she had a chance to enjoy Saturday’s victory. 

“It was really good; I kind of gave myself a little fist pump after the post,” Wilkes said. 

“It definitely felt good, and it was a big thrill to do it for Marc as well; I’ve known Marc for a long time.”

When riding at Narrabri on the dirt, Wilkes enjoyed the experience in front of the large crowd of racegoers. 

“I actually loved it, and I said I would go back next year,” Wilkes laughed. 

“It’s just a fun day with a different atmosphere. It’s good to experience all these country tracks that don’t have a lot of meetings, and the number of people there is just great.”

Only 11 rides into her career, the 24-year-old will take her biggest book of rides to date at Taree on Tuesday. 

With five rides locked in, Wilkes will look to win another Country Cup when jumping aboard the Grant Jobson-trained Imatruestar in the Hannam Vale Cup (1600m). 

“It’s my first big book, and I’m looking forward to it,” Wilkes said. 

“It’s a bit more to wrap my head around, but it’s going to be a good day.” 

Apprentices dominate at Narrabri

On a good day’s racing at Narrabri, apprentices dominated proceedings by winning every race on the program.

Cobi Vitler booted home a winning treble and won the jockey’s challenge. 

Riding for Nikki Pollock, Vitler won on Harmonica Miss ($1.80) in the 1000m Maiden Plate and Under Le Temps ($2.10) in the 1200m Class One Handicap. 

Bringing up his treble, Vitler guided the Sally Torrens-trained Caoimhe ($10) to a half-length win in the 1930m Benchmark 50 Handicap.

Siena Grima won her second and third career races at Narrabri.

In the saddle for Tamworth trainer Wayne Brown, Grima won on Hallowed Son ($3) in the 1500m Class One Handicap. 

Riding for Craig Martin, the four-kilogram claimer won on Miss Nicolini ($3) in the 1500m Benchmark 58 Wee Waa Cup.