Jasper Franklin breaks through in town

Jasper Franklin landed his first metropolitan win on the Kim Waugh-trained Conrad at Canterbury on Wednesday.
Photo: Bradley Photos.

What a day for Jasper Franklin. 

The talented apprentice and Grafton product – the son of former jockey Craig Franklin – made his metropolitan debut at Canterbury on Wednesday and landed his first winner, helping the Kim Waugh-trained Conrad ($4.60) to a good win in the 1100m Benchmark 72 Handicap. 

The pair bounced quickly from gate four, and Franklin rode Conrad like the best horse in the race when taking up the running before kicking clear with a big break on the Canterbury straight. 

The four-year-old had some weary legs in the final half-furlong, but he had done enough and held on for a good win, delivering Franklin arguably the biggest win of his career. 

“It’s a super feeling,” Franklin said after the race.

“Obviously, I’ve had a couple of setbacks with my weight, and I’ve just had to find my feet again since coming to Sydney, but I’m training hard now; I’ve got the right people around me, and it’s good to get a winner in town.”

Conrad wasn’t expected to take the lead, but Franklin believes he had no other choice after being caught up in an early-speed battle, and his decision proved astute in hindsight. 

“I was a little bit worried; I knew he hadn’t had a trial going into this, and he had a big weight, but I was going to end up three wide, and I just had to take a little bit of initiative,” Franklin said. 

“At Canterbury all day, they were winning when leading on the fence, so I thought, ‘if I’m there and he gets beat, I’ll take the blame for it, but he won, so I’ll look like a genius.”

Franklin, who started with Matthew Dunn in Grafton, has been very good to punters.

The 19-year-old got his riding career off to a dream start at Murwillumbah on Anzac Day of 2021 when booting home Allares to victory in the 1550m Benchmark 45 Handicap.

He’s since ridden 84 winners at a 17% win rate, even winning the 2022/23 Rising Star Series.

While he came to Sydney to ride for Mark Newnham, the apprentice is now indentured to Michael Freedman following news that Newnham had been granted a Hong Kong training licence for the 2023/24 racing season. 

“I’ve started with Michael Freedman now; he’s taken me on, and he’s been a great boss to me,” Franklin said. 

“It’s going to be good, and he’s looking to get a fair few more horses, so hopefully, the opportunities arise soon.”

Regarding the future, Franklin is happy to take up the occasional chance in town, but he wants to outride his provincial claim before taking on the big boys and girls. 

“I still have a three (kilogram claim) in the provincials, but I’m just taking advantage of the three boys being out over the next couple of weeks,” Franklin said. 

“Once they come back, I’ll just go back to the provincials, and I’m planning to outride my provincial claim and then come to the city after that.”

Franklin will head to Gosford next, with the apprentice chasing more city success when taking two rides on the standalone Saturday program.