McKenzie celebrates career days at Moruya and Kembla

Jade McKenzie was all smiles after winning on Napoleon Solo at Kembla Grange on Saturday. Image: Bradley Photos.

It was a huge two days for Moruya-based apprentice Jade McKenzie, who notched two career firsts at Moruya on Friday and Kembla Grange on Saturday. 

Riding at her home track, McKenzie scored the first winning double of her young career.

The apprentice teamed up with Chris Hensler when winning on Fire and Gemstone ($5) in the 1425m Class 2 Handicap. 

Her front-running ride was a masterclass, showcasing McKenzie’s impeccable judgement as they glided to a two-and-half-length victory, a testament to her promising potential.

Then riding for her boss, Natalie Jarvis, McKenzie raced Huddersfield on the speed in the 1010m Maiden Plate.

Again, showcasing excellent judgement, she kicked clear on turning for home, and it proved to be a winning break. The pair held on for a three-quarters-of-a-length victory. 

McKenzie was thrilled to bring up a double and help the Thorotek team to another good win.

“It’s my first one for the bosses too, so it’s extra special,” McKenzie told Sky Racing’s Graeme White in a post-race interview. 

Huddersfield was having his first run for the stable, and the former Bjorn Baker-trained Divine Prophet was seemingly ready to fire first-up.

“He had a really good trial, and I thought he would be up there with a chance, but he’s a little bit of a laid-back horse, so we really didn’t know what to expect, but he went really well,” McKenzie said. 

McKenzie trekked to Kembla Grange the following day with her boss, teaming up with the stable’s old warrior, Napoleon Solo, in the 1500m Benchmark 64 Handicap. 

McKenzie raced the eight-year-old a touch better than midfield before starting a three-wide run head into the final turn.

The long Kembla Grange straight suited Napoleon Solo, which worked to the front for a half-length victory.

It was a special moment for McKenzie, with the victory her first at a provincial track.

Riding at a 15% win rate, the 22-year-old former barrel racer, who won her first race in January, now has nine wins to her name and is improving at every meeting. 

“I am to improve one thing each race ride, and I’m slowly getting there,” McKenzie said.