It has been a long and winding road to recovery for Mauritian jockey, Stephane Joseph, but he was rewarded for his resilience at Wellington earlier this month, booting home his first winner in over two years when helping the Brett Thompson trained Denace to victory.
Since then, the 33-year-old has won again, winning on the Thompson trained Winter Moon at Warren on September 18 and he admitted it was nice to be riding and winning again.
“That win at Wellington. It was just a catalyst; I was so relieved after such a long time not riding and I was so pleased,” Joseph said.
Joseph was nearly lost to the sport altogether following a riding accident in April 2019 that left him with severe injuries, forcing him to spend more than a year on the sideline.
“I was riding for Rodney Robb and got my first five winners there, but I had a fall and ended up with a couple of broken ribs, a fractured hip and punctured lung,” Joseph said.
Following his time away from riding, the apprentice jockey tried his luck with Kerry Parker at Kembla Grange, firsly getting his confidence up before finding a new home with Brett Thompson’s Gulgong team.
“I went to Kerry’s to see how I would go in the saddle again and to make sure I would feel good, and I felt great,” Joseph said.
“I thought ‘damn, I could win races again’ and I thought I would go back to where it all started and get some winners.
“LeeAnn Olsen from Racing NSW, she was great, and she got me in touch with Brett Thompson as I didn’t know where to go and what trainer would give me a go.”
Since arriving with Thompson, Joseph is loving life and loving his time back in the saddle.
“With the boys and his sons, it’s amazing. They trust me and everything they do helps me,” Joseph said.
“They are very good horsemen and good breakers and all the advice they give me is spot on, so now, I just want to keep riding winners for them and go from there.”
Thompson was happy with Joseph’s progress since joining the team, praising his work ethic and riding ability.
“He is going really good,” Thompson said.
“He works good at home; he puts in long hours, and he has hardly put in a bad ride since he’s been back riding.”
Thompson believes the sky is the limit for Joseph, suggesting he could potentially progress to the provincials if given the right opportunities.
“It is hard to get rides at Kembla and that, and he made the right decision to come back to the bush and build himself out here, and I think he can make it,” Thompson said.
“Who knows, if he is going well enough, he might end up back down there.”
Thompson and Joseph will team up again at Dubbo on Friday and Mudgee on Saturday and the prominent country trainer hinted his apprentice would get plenty of chances to showcase his talent.
“We are giving him plenty of rides and he is working good and while he keeps that work ethic up, he will make a good apprentice,” Thompson said.