Waterhouse apprentice ready for Warren road trip

Emma Ly might be back under Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott’s watchful eyes following a stint with Donna Scott in Albury, but she is still keen to make her mark in the country. 

Following wins at Wagga and Nowra in March, the two-kilogram claiming apprentice came out and won Saturday’s Holbrook Cup. 

Riding for Kym Davison, the 28-year-old had to deal with a slipped saddle but guided Daly Heads to a remarkable win in the $15,000 feature

The result came almost 12 months after Ly’s first win for Waterhouse and Bott in the Fyshwick Cup at Queanbeyan, where she rode Choose Your Words to victory

Now 24 wins into her career, Ly said it was nice to celebrate her first year in the saddle with another Country Cup victory. 

“I’ve been riding bang on 12 months, and it was a year between those two cups, and I was ecstatic to win another one,” Ly told NSW Country and Picnic Racing. 

“Kym has been saying he will put me on for ages, but he is quite loyal to his trackwork riders, so it was super for him to do so.

“Nothing went right in the race, and I wanted to be a bit more positive and ride a bit tighter. At the 800m, another apprentice came in front of me and knocked my saddle around to the side of the horse. 

“I had a full conversation with myself at the 600m and said it doesn’t matter what’s happened, it’s time to go, and he appreciated the soft first 1000m, and he was too good.”

Ly, who met Davison while spending time on the border, is loving her life back in Sydney with Tulloch Lodge.

“Going to Albury was great for me, and I made good connections with trainers there,” Ly said. 

“It was a good experience, but you learn a lot from being in the company of great jockeys, and every morning, I am galloping good horses with great jockeys and learning a lot. 

“It’s about the muscle memory and everything and being around those people, so I do not regret coming back at all.”

Still, the apprentice will live by the motto, ‘have saddle, will travel’ and will not be afraid of a long trip into country NSW.

While trying not to focus on the drive ahead of her, Ly heads to Warren on Saturday. She will make the 13-hour round trip when teaming up with Maree Hopkins. 

On a good Western Districts program, she is on a big chance when riding last-start Coonabarabran placegetter Mystic Flame in the 1400m Benchmark 58 Handicap. 

Taking three rides on the card, Ly will also jump on stablemates Deliciosa in the 1200m Maiden Plate and Love Rat in the 1000m Benchmark 50 Handicap. 

Ly had previously ridden by Hopkins at Coonabarabran on April 6, finishing second on Mystic Flame in a 1200m Benchmark 50 Handicap, which led to her opportunities at Warren. 

“I thought I would give Coonabarabran a chance last week, and I got a ride on Maree’s horse,” Ly said. 

“She wanted me to go forward, and she is quite a positive trainer who would prefer you to leave them and their mouths alone, which is similar to how Gai trains, and I’m quite comfortable being an on-pace rider. 

“I really enjoy the way she trains and gives you instructions, and it suits me and the horse.

“I was super pleased to come second on her (Mystic Flame) at Coonabarabran and get that association, and she asked me if I was going to Warren, and I said, ‘For you, no problems’.

“Hopefully, a few other trainers will notice my name and see me riding, which will lead to more chances.”

Mystic Flame contests a winnable race, and Ly said the Divine Prophet mare would give her everything over the seven furlongs. 

“I believe the horse is going to try her heart out, regardless of the barrier or the race she is in,” Ly said. 

“The way she goes forward, she is handy and, on the pace, and she makes her own luck.”

It’s set to be a big day at Warren, which will host their Golden Fleece race meeting

The program kicks off Warren Jockey Club’s 2024 season of racing, and the six-race program has attracted some excellent fields. 

For more on their big day, click here