Shannen Llewellyn scores maiden win at Dubbo

Shannen Llewellyn won her maiden race when aboard the Dar Lunn-trained Elson Boy at Dubbo on Friday.
Image: Racing Photography.

Shannen Llewellyn broke through for her maiden win on Friday, with the Dubbo-based apprentice enjoying the moment on her home track. 

Riding for in-form Dubbo trainer Dar Lunn, the four-kilogram claimer was legged aboard Elson Boy for her fifth career ride. 

While the pair started from gate 12, Llewellyn worked to the front on the four-year-old, running the field along before kicking clear to win by almost two lengths in the 1300m Benchmark 58 Handicap. 

“It was great, and at the time, it didn’t feel any different from riding a placing, but getting back and seeing the support from everyone made it feel different,” Llewellyn told NSW Country and Picnic Racing

Born in Lismore, Llewellyn and her family moved to the Central Coast when she was 13, and that’s where she was introduced to racing. 

“I started working for Tim Boland with pre-trainers around January 2021, and that’s where I struck up an interest in riding work, so I pursued it,” she said.  

“I was then working in Wyong for Kim Waugh, and that’s when I received a call from Snow (Brett Robb) and took it from there.”

While an apprenticeship was never promised, Llewellyn impressed Robb and was soon on a path to race riding. 

“I moved to Dubbo, and it will be two years ago in April, and I was keen to make a change,” she said.

“Snow called me up for a stablehand position, and he said he couldn’t promise anything except for a ride or two a morning, but I jumped at the chance and travelled to Dubbo. 

“It happened pretty quickly, and I just started riding more and more; on my second day there, Snow gave me a gallop on the grass, and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.”

It took the 22-year-old a while to get the green light from Racing NSW stewards, but she had good support from Robb and Tamworth trainer Cody Morgan.

She had her first trial on A Magic Zariz in May last year and would trial 36 more times before making her debut on the Brett Robb-trained Platinum Warrior at Dubbo last month.

“The stewards wanted a few consecutive trials, and Snow gave me as many as he could, and Cody Morgan helped and gave me a few trials, and I was able to knock out a few in a row,” she said.

“Cody was really good to me, and I finally got passed. When I had my first ride, it was actually really cool, and I was very excited.

“I got into the barriers, and it just felt normal and like I was meant to be there.”

With a win under her belt, it didn’t take long for Llewellyn to boot home her second victory, and what a day to do it at Tamworth on Sunday.

Racing on the Hunter-North West Country Championships program, Llewellyn repaid Cody Morgan’s faith by winning the 1000m Benchmark 58 Handicap on Hombre. 

“It was a real thrill,” she said. 

“I felt like Cody deserved the reward for helping me out, and it was a good experience, that’s for sure.”

While being interviewed by NSW Country and Picnic Racing on the way to Orange on Monday, Robb was quick to remind Llewellyn that she still owed her boss a win.

“I still haven’t ridden one for Snow,” Llewellyn laughed. 

“That is the next goal to achieve, and in terms of the future, I don’t know.

“I don’t have the biggest goals, but I’d like to say that riding in the Country Championship for Snow would be a big goal, or even riding Sizzle Minizzle in the Dubbo Cup; that’s on the bucket list.”

The young jockey will have her tail up as she prepares to travel to Muswellbrook on Friday. 

Teaming up with Cody Morgan, Llewellyn will jump aboard last-start winner Distant in the 900m Class One Handicap. 

Llewellyn will also team up with Jeremy Sylvester when riding another last-start winner, Lago’s Daughter, in the 1280m Benchmark 58 Handicap.