Molly Bourke bags first career double

Molly Bourke. Photo: Tumbarumba Times.

Molly Bourke is fast becoming a household name in the Southern Districts with the apprentice jockey riding winners at Gundagai-Adelong Race Club on Sunday and Murrumbidgee Turf Club on Monday. 

The 18-year-old, who is only 18 starts into her apprenticeship, has already booted home four winners, including a career-first double at Wagga. 

Her first winner was on old stager and the Michelle Borserio trained Benno’s Boy, who won his 20th career victory at his 183rd start, with the pair greeting the judge first in the 1000m Benchmark 58 Handicap. 

Bourke’s second victory at Wagga was in the very next race and was on the George Dimitropoulos trained My Solaki, with the young hoop winning for her master and long-time supporter in 1300m Battlers Cup.

“I’m over the moon about it, and I’m very shocked about it to be honest,” Bourke said. 

“I never thought I would have four winners this early in my career and have nearly ridden out my four-kilo claim.”

Bourke’s Wagga double arrived on horses close to the young jockey’s heart and she admitted that stable galloper, My Solaki, was one of her favourites. 

“My Solaki is a special horse; my family loves him to death,” Bourke said. 

“My dad was there to strap him. He would do anything for that horse and that was his one wish, for me to get a winner on him.”

Rising 10-year-old Benno’s Boy has a habit of helping young apprentices to victories early in their career, and Bourke said he was still an absolute professional at the races. 

“That old horse is the most honest old horse you will ever ride,” Bourke said.

“You could never ask for a better horse on race day; he does everything for you and to ride a winner for Michelle (Borserio), it was great, she gets heaps happy and excited and she deserved that winner.” 

Bourke’s good run of form kicked off at Gundagai on Sunday though, landing a high-priced winner on Sweet Jamaica in the 1180m Maiden Plate, with the galloper paying 20/1 as she crossed the line first. 

The victory was a special occasion for connections, with Narrandera trainer Anthony Craig preparing his first winner. 

“It was great to get a winner for someone who is small and starting out; it definitely means a little more,” Bourke said. 

The Tumbarumba product explained that it was a chance opportunity to ride the four-year-old at Narrandera that led to Sunday’s victory.

“He just called me and asked me to ride her at Narrandera, and when I jumped on her last time, she ran a very good race and Anthony decided we would drop her back in distance and go forward a bit more next time.

“He rang me again when he entered her at Gundagai and asked me whether I wanted to ride; people were telling me to take something else, but I stuck loyal by him and it worked out well. 

“It really shows, if you work away with those little trainers, they will stick by you.” 

Bourke looks set to be a hot commodity going forward and while she hoped to keep riding winners, learning more about race riding was her focus. 

“I’m slowly starting to get my name out there, and now I’m having a few rides, different trainers are starting to inquire, which is good,” Bourke said. 

“I’m feeling really good, I’m obviously trying to learn and improve, and it means a heap when it all pays off and I get winners.”

Racing fans can follow Bourke, who will be riding at Cowra on Saturday and Narrandera next Sunday.