Apprentices benefit from Jockey shortage
A sudden shortage of senior jockeys has given at least two apprentice riders an unexpected shot at black-type success at Randwick on Saturday.
As six of the top 10 jockeys on the premiership table are injured or suspended, trainers have been scrambling to secure the services of available riders after a week of mayhem in Sydney racing.
Three jockeys – Blake Shinn, Peter Robl and Jeff Lloyd – are sidelined because of injury.
Hugh Bowman was suspended for causing a fall that led to their injuries while Nash Rawiller and Corey Brown are also serving riding bans.
Randwick trainer Kevin Moses was desperate to secure a senior rider to partner rejuvenated galloper My Sweet Cookie, a genuine lightweight chance in Saturday’s Group Two race.
He was hoping to engage Dwayne Dunn but his plan fell through when the Melbourne jockey said he couldn’t ride lighter than 53kg.
Dunn will be in Sydney to ride for Lee Freedman, who will have dual representation in a two-year-old fillies race.
The limit weight for the Villiers will be 52kg and asked if he had a plan B, Moses replied: “I’ll probably put Jamie Quinnell on now.
“I’m a hundred per cent certain My Sweet Cookie will be given the limit.”
Quinnell is on loan to Moses and has ridden My Sweet Cookie to two impressive wins in as many starts this campaign.
He rides with a 3kg allowance but will not be able to use his claim in Saturday’s Group Two race.
Warwick Farm trainer Paul Cave faced a similar predicament with another senior jockey, Grant Buckley, out with a hand injury.
Cave has also booked a 3kg apprentice, Nathan Berry, to ride German Chocolate.
“German Chocolate is a horse who goes better if a jockey knows him and at least Nathan has ridden him before,” Cave said.
Moses will hold a strong hand in the Villiers with Causeyacan, desperately unlucky in the Festival Stakes, also a confirmed starter.
Danny Nikolic keeps the ride on Causeyacan after knocking back several other offers in the race.
Causeyacan finished last in a field of five at his only start over the Randwick mile but Nikolic is confident the five-year-old is a stronger horse now.
“I think he is looking for further,” Nikolic said. “Getting up to a mile is going to suit him.”
Nikolic, along with Chris Munce, promises to be one of Sydney’s most sought after jockeys over the next month.
Munce has been given a realistic chance of winning a stakes race little more than a week into his return after being booked for Saturday’s Rosehill winner Something Anything.
In other Villiers bookings, Wyong trainer Kylie Gavenlock has secured Group One-winning apprentice Peter Wells for the ride on Mary’s Grace who was ridden by Robl when she won the Mona Lisa.
By Warwick Barr