There wouldn’t be a more in-form jockey in NSW than Anna Roper right now, with the young apprentice carving it up on the country circuit in recent weeks.
Since rounding out the 2021/22 season with a double at Inverell on July 30, Roper has since ridden a treble at Dubbo on Sunday before trekking to Goulburn on Monday for one ride and on win.
Capping off a sensational run of form and catapulting her to the top of the 2022/23 NSW jockey’s premiership, the 19-year-old rode a double at Quirindi on Tuesday when booting home Super Holt (Pat Farrell, $26) to victory in the 1450m Class One Handicap, and Leisa Louise (Luke Pepper, $3.80) to a good win in the 1600m Class Three Handicap.
“It’s been a pretty insane couple of days,” Roper told NSW Country and Picnic Racing.
“At Inverell. I had quite a nice book there, and having the good track, I felt like I was able to get a few home but at Dubbo, I was shocked with that on.
“I didn’t think that would happen. I knew the horses were in the market, but I wasn’t sure how capable they were, and to get my first treble was pretty special.
“Then today, it was good to get another double and everything just seems to be clicking.”
Back in April, Roper kicked off her career in fine style, travelling to Gundagai for one ride when winning on the Tony Newing-trained Alpha Go, and she believes that good start has allowed her to build up a good reputation, which has led to 21 career wins it what seems the blink of an eye.
“I don’t really know what it is but ever since I came out and rode my first race for my first winner at Gundagai, from there it kicked off and I got my name out there and trainers have been so supportive and they have been so good to me,” Roper said.
Apprentice to Tracey Bartley in Wyong, Roper said she was starting to feel very confident in the saddle, with races ‘slowing down’ as she begins to mark a real mark on the country and provincial scene.
“I feel like I have gotten to a comfortable spot, and races are slowing down, and I’m reading them better and learning to do my form is a huge thing, and that definitely helps,” Roper said.
“Plus, being on a roll, it builds momentum, and you have confidence in yourself, and it is so much easier to ride horses when you are confident.”
Roper has been well supported by leading country stables, and Canberra-turned-Scone trainer, Luke Pepper has given the young hoop most of her rides to date, which has proven to benefit everyone involved.
“Riding for Luke is awesome, and he is good with his horses and every time I ride one of his horses, I think they are a chance,” Roper said.
“He put me on my first provincial ride, and first provincial winner, and first double in Canberra, and he has been one of my biggest supporters.”
There is no slowing the apprentice jockey down either, and despite all the kilometres covered in recent weeks, she was loving her time in the industry.
“Absolutely it’s a lot of travelling, but mum comes with me a fair bit of the time, and she is like my right-hand man and helps me out,” Roper said.
“I race at Newcastle on Thursday, Tamworth on Friday, and Coffs on Saturday and it never stops but I love it.”