Fresh off a move from Tamworth to Ballina, apprentice hoop Yvette Lewis has already made her mark in the Northern Rivers, riding three winners in quick succession, including a nice double at Grafton on Monday.
“It is always good to ride a winner,” Lewis said.
“I really appreciate the chance and I can’t thank the owners and trainers enough for the opportunities.”
In a good day at the Clarence River Jockey Club, the 21-year-old gave the Andrew Piling trained, Notably, a very good ride in the 1100m Maiden Plate, finding the winning post just in time when edging Devil’s Inn by 0.01 of a length in a tantalising finish.
“I never thought I had one,” Lewis said.
“I never try and get my hopes up and at Grafton I know it does favour the outside a bit, and I thought I was beat, but she ended up winning.”
Lewis picked up her second victory of the day in the 2200m Benchmark 58 Handicap when aboard the Julie Pratten trained Rahaan.
In a tough run, the five-year-old mare landed just behind early leader Nature Boy, with Lewis biding her time until the top of the straight when peeling three wide and going to the front to hold off Karlu Dreaming by 0.81 of a length.
“She is beautiful. She is a lovely horse, and she likes to roll along at her own speed,” Lewis said.
“She doesn’t have much sprint and she whacks away. On the corner I gave her a slap on the shoulder, and she was strong to the line.”
A product of Tingha and the daughter of former country jockey Virginia Heron and older sister of fellow jockey Zara Lewis, the apprentice was originally under the guidance of trainer Sue Grills.
Now based in Ballina with Stephen Lee, the young jockey only has one win left on her country claim, and once borders reopen, she is set to focus her attention on progressing to the provincials.
“The whole idea of me coming to Ballina is so I can have a three-kilo claim for the Gold Coast, Toowoomba and places like that, but the border is shut at the moment, and I can’t go there,” Lewis said.
“He (Stephen Lee) had asked me to come up here a couple of times and I kept saying no, and I was getting down on my claim and I needed to move; so i decided to make the move.”
Since relocating to the Northern Rivers, Lewis has been loving life and enjoying her time in the saddle.
“It’s just a better place in general. I really enjoy the people I’m working with; we are always having a laugh and the weather is warmer and it has been a good move,” Lewis said.
“It has really helped my mental health moving up here too, plus it’s been good for my riding.
“Between Steve (Lee) and Mark Gorman, those two have helped with a few things with my riding, just little tips and tricks to help, and it’s definitely working.”
The sky looks to be the limit for Lewis, but the level-headed hoop wasn’t getting too carried away, and as cliché as it may sound, she was taking her career one ride at a time.
“I just go out there thinking I will ride them the best I can and if they are good enough, they will be good enough to win,” Lewis said.
“I never think I’m going to get a winner. I go out there, do my job and ride them the best I can.”
Lewis has another good opportunity to showcase her skills at Lismore on Thursday, taking seven rides on the TAB Showcase Lismore Cup program.
Punters can click here to see the full fields for Lismore’s meeting.