McLucas wins Rising Star Series opener as strong season continues

Amy McLucas returns after winning the first heat of the 2021/22 Rising Star Series at Gundagai Adelong Race Club on Friday. Riding for Scott Collings, London Gal was too good for her rivals in the 1100m Class One Handicap.

Apprentice jockey Amy McLucas was already in the midst of her best start to a season before heading to Gundagai’s Snake Gully Cup meeting on Friday, with the 1.5kg claimer boasting 13 ½ country wins and a provincial victory.

At Gundagai, McLucas added two more victories to her growing tally, firstly winning the first heat of the 2021/22 Rising Star Series when helping the Scott Collings-trained London Gal to a five and a half-length victory in the 1100m Class One Handicap.

“I was pretty confident on her and drawing the gate gave me more confidence,” McLucas said.

“She is a nice little horse and she had probably been ridden a bit too far back in her last couple of starts, and I could put her where I wanted and from the 600m I knew I was home.”

The Goulburn galloper was superb, finding the line with a leg in the air in the heavy 9 conditions.

“I’ve never ridden a horse that I haven’t pulled the stick on, but she didn’t need any help and there wasn’t a minute in the race that she didn’t handle it,” McLucas said.

In the last event of the day, the young hoop again teamed up with Collings, winning the $50,000 Snake Gully Flying Handicap aboard Bombdiggity.

Starting at $11 in wet and wild conditions, McLucas took Bombdiggity forward and made every post a winner before greeting the judge for a good victory.

“It wasn’t too much of a surprise. He has only been beaten once or twice first up and I jumped him out and he went well, and I knew he was on the right track,” McLucas said.

Winning the first Rising Star Series heat of the new season was a special moment for McLucas, who competed in what turned out to be an all-female heat.

“It definitely means something as an apprentice. It is pretty exciting, and it looks good,” McLucas said.

“It was exciting, and it was all girls and that was something different and pretty big for us girls riding.”

McLucas only tallied three points in the 2020/21 Rising Star Series that was won by Mikayla Weir, and the in-form jockey is setting herself to give the apprentice-only competition a real shake.

“I’ve spoken to my manager about it, and we are going to try and chase all of them,” McLucas said.

“There are two or three that are out of reach distance wise, but I will definitely give it a go.” 

McLucas, who is apprentice to Emma and Lucy Longmire, was pleased to be riding well and hinted that her confidence levels were never higher.

“This is probably my best start to a season. I am making a lot more connections, I’m riding a lot more confident and I’m getting some good rides,” McLucas said.

“I’ve been riding for just over two years, and I’ve learnt that confidence is one of them attributes that makes all the difference.”

The next heat of the Rising Star Series will take apprentices to Tamworth on November 30, before Gosford, Coffs Harbour, Orange, Taree, Scone and Coffs Harbour all hold heats in December.