The well-travelled Olivia Dalton enjoyed the biggest moment of her young career on Saturday, and of all places, it was at Tumut.
At just her tenth ride, the Sydney-based jockey teamed up with Jindabyne trainer Georgie Boucher at the foot of the Snowy Mountains and rode enigmatic mare Gwennybegg, who’s proven to be a Tumut track specialist over the years.
Taking on the Ray White Tumut Mile, which Gwennybegg had previously won in 2022, the apprentice gave the eight-year-old a dream run in behind early leader Red Hill.
The heavens opened on the turn, and Dalton took the split, and from there, the race was over, with Gwennybegg ($10) powering to a comfortable two-length win from the Tumut-based and Kerry Weir-trained pair of Horace (Josh Richards, $10) in second and Red Hill (Johnny Kissick, $4.40) in third.
“I can’t believe it,” Dalton told NSW Country and Picnic Racing.
“It’s a thrill; I’m so grateful to Georgie and the owners and just glad to get the job done for them.
“She travelled really nicely, and I just stayed on the rail, and the race really worked out for her.
“I had a lot of horse left and was confident turning for home, and once she got out, she was able to get past them and was too strong.”
It was a long trip for the 22-year-old, who was born and bred in New Zealand.
“I’m based in Sydney at Warwick Farm and apprentice to Richard Collett,” Dalton said.
“I’m originally from New Zealand, and I made the move over a year and a half ago and got the opportunity to come over with Richard and his family.”
Boucher had played an integral role in giving Dalton rides, with the pair frequenting Queanbeyan meetings recently.
“I’ve ridden Georgie’s horses a few times, and she’s given me some opportunities, and she told me she was coming here, and obviously, I’ll go anywhere; have saddle will travel,” Dalton joked.
In terms of what the future holds, the young jockey is keen to travel to make her mark.
“I just want to outride my country claim and keep learning, and I’d love to travel everywhere,” Dalton said.
The four-kilogram claimer will be back at it in Nowra tomorrow, riding the Benjamin Smith-trained She’s Jessie in the 1200m Benchmark 58 Handicap.