Gulgong will forever be a special place to apprentice jockey Benjamin Osmond after he rode his first ever winner there on Sunday.
The 22-year-old, who was only riding at his third meeting and on his fifth-ever mount, guided the Todd Howlett trained Lily’s Lolly to victory in the 1000m Maiden Plate.
“It was good, as soon as I crossed the line, there was a big smile on my face and it was a pretty good feeling,” Osmond said.
The young apprentice was pleased to ride his first winner for his new boss, after kick-starting his career with Todd Howlett earlier this month
“It’s been good riding for Todd, I’m learning a lot,” Osmond said.
Plus, I’ve been a bit busier, which is good.”
The Dungog product was never destined for the racetrack, growing up with stock horses, but Osmond took a punt on a career in racing.
“The family weren’t into racing at all, they were just into stock horses, but I thought I’d give it a go and they are pretty supportive of it all,” Osmond said.
“I did pony club, crampdrafting and all of that growing up, so I’ve been riding horses for as long as I could remember.”
Osmond has been well schooled on his road to the racetrack, learning from the likes of Kris Lees and Ron Quinton before branching out and kicking off his career with the busy Newcastle stable.
“When I finished school, I did six months at Kris Lees’ pre-training farm and then 16 months with Ron Quinton – I did all my trials with him,” Osmond said.
“I learned a lot; Ron was really good and riding with Sam (Clipperton) and Andrew (Adkins) a few days a week was good.
“Once I finished all my trials and I was ready to race ride, I went to Todd’s so I could go to all the country races and get those opportunities starting off.”
The four-kilo claiming hoop wasn’t getting ahead of himself just yet, and while he was dreaming big, he was taking each day as it came.
“I feel comfortable and balanced in the saddle. For now, it’s just going to be a matter of learning to read races,” Osmond said.
“It would be good to eventually be riding in the city, but for now, I’ll take it each day at a time and hopefully just get some more winners and try and ride out my claim.”
Quinton, who is a master of producing good apprentices, was pleased to hear Osmond had ridden his first winner, and he envisioned good things for the young jockey.
“He still rings me; he rang me the other day after the win – he is a good kid,” Quinton said.
The veteran trainer and former champion hoop said Osmond progressed nicely during his 16 months in his stables.
“In that time, he came a long way. He is quite a tall lad, and he is relatively on the heavy side at 55kg, but he come along way,” Quinton said.
“The most impressive part from my point of view was his work ethic. He was always first to the stables in the morning and that’s the reason I apprenticed him.
“I probably wouldn’t have apprenticed him if he wasn’t such a good lad, so I got him through the trials and now he is with Todd, who did a great job with Mikayla Weir, so he couldn’t be a better bloke.”