Since 2019, Tumbarumba product Molly Bourke, has spent her days riding, working, feeding and looking after horses for a variety of Wagga stables.
Apprenticing to popular Tumbarumba and Wagga trainer, George Dimitropoulos, Bourke has been forced to wait a little longer than expected before being passed off as ready to ride, with the Covid-19 pandemic slowing just about everything down.
That was until Monday, when Racing NSW stewards gave Bourke the all-clear to kick start her riding career on
“My last trial was last Monday, and at that point, we were just trialling away, and the stewards just said to keep trialling and see what happens,” Bourke explained.
“And even after that trial, I didn’t get a chance to talk to them and it wasn’t until yesterday (Monday), they came and spoke to us about it and passed me to trial.” Dimitropoulos wasted no time in setting Bourke for her first ride, which will be at Leeton Jockey Club on Saturday.
The 18-year-old will be familiar with both of her mounts too, riding My Solaki in the 1150m Benchmark 50 Handicap and Mouse Almighty in the Class Two Handicap – both of which are trained by Dimitropoulos.
“Both of them I ride track work every day, and I’ve done two trials on both horses,” Bourke said.
“It is exciting to be riding horses I know, and it would be fantastic to win on one of George’s first off.”
While the young hoop was happy to reach for the stars, riding well and doing a good job on her race day debut was her main priority.
“I just want to make sure I ride them up to people’s expectation. I don’t want to go out there and get a bad name from myself, I want to make an impression from the get-go,” Bourke said.
Bourke has a lot of support riding, and she thanked Dimitropoulos for making her dream of being a jockey come true.
“I would like to thank George for all his support and taking me on in the first place,” Bourke said.
“I’ve had a lot of help along the way, and I’m very thankful.”
Dimitropoulos didn’t want to get carried away with things so early in Bourke’s career, but he said his young jockey was showing good instincts.
“She is going really good, and it has been a pleasure working with her. She is learning and that is all part of the process, but she needs a bit of polishing,” Dimitropoulos said.
“I think being able to jump a horse out is her biggest asset, just getting a horse to jump and be there.”
The Wagga trainer hopes to give young Bourke a winning debut, and believes My Solaki, who ran a good third at Wagga last start, is the horse to get the job done.
“Well, I think My Solaki will be hard to beat, and that is why I put her on it,” Dimitropoulos said.
“The instructions will be the same, whether he jumps from 1 or 13, and that is to jump and ride him wherever he is happy, and that is normally in front.
“Molly knows the horse anyways, and I’m confident she will do a good job.”
Racing fans can get along to Leeton Jockey Club’s cup meeting on Saturday to watch Bourke ride, while a strong six-race-program will keep punters and racing fans entertained.