Claire Ramsbotham confident ahead of Grafton debut

Claire Ramsbotham will make her race-riding debut at Grafton on Thursday.

Claire Ramsbotham is ready and raring as she prepares to take her first race at Grafton on Thursday. 

Teaming up with her boss, Matthew Dunn, the 21-year-old will ride Torque Of Dreams in the 1205m Maiden Plate. 

The three-year-old is a three-start maiden and will be five weeks between runs after most recently finishing seventh over 1200m at Grafton on April 1.

Despite drawing gate 14, Ramsbotham believes Torque Of Dreams will appreciate the lightweight (54kg) and heavy conditions. 

“I’m 100% prepared and confident,” Ramsbotham told NSW Country and Picnic Racing.  

“I rode her (Torque Of Dreams) quite a bit at the start of this prep, and I’ve ridden her here and there throughout the prep. 

“Tomorrow’s not the greatest draw, but that’s okay; we’ll deal with it.

“Hopefully, we get across and into a nice comfortable spot, and with my claim and a bit of a heavy track, she can run over the top of them and get a win.”

It’s interesting to note Ramsbotham’s unique backstory leading into her debut.

The apprentice jockey is not from a racing family, or horse family, for that matter, but was born and bred in the Melbourne suburb of Frankston.

The Victorian left Melbourne two years ago, spending stints at Hawkesbury and Randwick as she nurtured her love of riding. 

“When I left Melbourne, I actually started with a pre-trainer in Hawkesbury for a couple of months before I decided I wanted to ride trackwork, and I was working for a trainer at Hawkesbury,” Ramsbotham said.

“I was there for maybe a year or so, and then I decided to do my apprenticeship and moved to Randwick to get some experience.

“I was there for six months and started trialling. Eventually, I moved to the country and am now with Matthew Dunn at Murwillumbah.”

Ramsbotham did have support along the road to her debut ride, including Brooke Somers, who pushed her towards riding, and Ron Quinton, who kicked her career off.

“I definitely had a huge amount of support,” Ramsbotham said.

“The foreman (Brooke Somers) at the stable I was working for at Hawkesbury; she is the reason I started riding, and she pushed me to ride.

“Then, when I started, Ron Quinton was great. He got me going with my trials and taught me all the basics.”

While starting her career in Sydney, when push came to shove, it was hard for Ramsbotham to pass up the opportunity to ride for Dunn, and she is loving life on the Northern Rivers.

“It was very exciting after I spoke to Matt, and he said he was happy to have me; it was definitely an opportunity I had to take,” Ramsbotham said. 

“I’ve been at Matt’s for about four months, and I love it; I love living in the country. 

“Randwick is a bit much, and I’m not for the city life. Out here is great, and it’s a great place to be, and if you want the city, the Gold Coast is just up the road.

“Plus, everyone there has been a huge support, not only Matt but also the entire team; they’re all coming along tomorrow and will be there cheering for me. It has been awesome, and it’s what I’ve been looking for.”

The young hoop also has her partner, Brodie Loy, by her side, with the former jockey acting as a mentor. 

“I have Brodie to thank, as he has definitely been teaching me the ins and outs of racing, so I’m really confident going into tomorrow,” she said. 

While excited for tomorrow’s race at Grafton, the moment won’t define Ramsbotham’s career, and the apprentice has some short-term and long-term goals in mind. 

“At the moment, I just want to take one step at a time, and the end goal is becoming a competitive Sydney jockey,” she said.

“Right now, it’s about getting my first ride, then plenty of winners under my belt, and eventually becoming one of the top apprentices.”