Narrandera Race Club will forever hold a special place in Jett Stanley’s heart following the apprentice’s memorable NSW debut at the Southern Districts track on Saturday.
The NSW born, Victorian raised, and former Western Australian apprentice recently made the move to the Mitch Beer stable in Albury after riding 35 winners in Western Australia.
Racing at Narrandera on Saturday, Stanley was riding in NSW for the first time, also meaning it was his first time officially steering the NSW way of going, and while he managed to stay in the saddle, he also landed the first three winners on the program.
“I was just going there to steer right instead of left,” Stanley laughed.
“To have three winners right off the bat was really good and it was quite good to win for my boss too.”
Stanley combined with Wangaratta trainer Ben Brisbourne to win the opening event aboard Quick Enuff, with the pair taking out the 1600m Class One/Maiden Plate.
Stanley then picked up the ride on Deranged in the 1400m Maiden Handicap, winning for Canberra trainer Nick Olive.
Adding to what was a terrific start to his NSW career, Stanley then secured his hat-trick of winners, delivering boss Mitch Beer a good win in the 1000m Class One Handicap aboard race favourite Word on the Street.
“Funnily enough, my horse in race two was a pick-up ride, and I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Stanley said.
“I was so happy to get three winners – I never expected it and it was a great day at Narrandera.”
Jett, the son of former champion jockey Brent Stanley, was no doubt born and bred to be a hoop.
“I don’t think there was any other path I was going to go down,” Stanley laughed.
“There was always racing and being a jockey, plus I was always small up until I was about 15 and then I had a growth spurt and I’m walking around at six-foot, but I’m still very light (50kg).”
The 18-year-old has a good footing in the sport, and he learned the intricacies of riding under his father’s tutelage in Victoria before venturing into Show Jumping and Cross Country as a youngster.
“I learned how to ride at my dad’s old property at Sutton Grange and did a lot of Pony Club and Show Jumping,” Stanley said.
“I represented Australia in Show Jumping and Cross Country and I have been riding my whole life.
“There were times where I was left crying in the back of the float when we didn’t win, but it also taught me how to lose respectfully and how to appreciate those wins.”
After being denied an apprentice’s licence in Victoria, Stanley kicked off his career with Grant and Alana Williams in Western Australia.
“I started race riding over in Western Australia because Victoria didn’t accept me into their program,” Stanley said.
“I joined up with Grant and Alana Williams. They came over here with Regal Power, Arcadia Queen and Super Storm for those big races, and I was riding their trackwork and then I got offered an apprenticeship with them and went over there.
“I was over in WA for 18 months, and I started race riding in April 2021 and to date, I have had about 35 winners.
A move back home was always inevitable, and Stanley said joining the Beer stable meant he got the best of both worlds and was still able to race ride and be much closer to home.
“To be honest, I wanted to come back home, and I wasn’t allowed to go back to Victoria, and the closest place to home was Albury and Mitch was happy enough to take me on,” Stanley said.
“I have been with Mitch’s stable for about a week. I had three or four weeks off, spending time with family and catching up and then I was back into it, and I got a couple of rides at Wangaratta, and then Narrandera was my first big day back and it worked out well.”
Stanley has a winning mentality, which was on show at Narrandera, and the young hoop said he was always confident when jumping in the saddle.
“I am always going out there thinking that I’m a winning chance,” Stanley said.
“If you go out there with a winning mindset, I believe it makes a huge difference.”
As far as what the future holds, Stanley has his small goals in mind, but he stated he wants to be the best of the best.
“The big goal for me is to become a champion jockey,” Stanley said.
“Everyone wants to be the best, and you don’t want to settle for anything less.
“I have had little goals along the way, like over in WA, I had my goals to win the apprentice challenges and win country cups, and I did all that and was quite content and comfortable coming back and now it is about setting new goals and being the best jockey that I can be.”
Stanley, who rode again at Albury on Monday, was again in the winner’s circle when guiding the Rob Wellington-trained Fever Tree to a good win in the 1410m Class One.
The young jockey will travel to Canberra on Friday when taking two more rides, combining with Donna Scott when aboard Keith in the 1200m Benchmark 50 Handicap, and again for Nick Olive when board Nobody’s Puppet in the 1200m TAB Federal.