Laura Cheshire hopes to create Ipswich Cup history

Gold Coast jockey Laura Cheshire will keep celebrations low-key if she can create Ipswich Cup history aboard Kiwi iron horse Sir Time Keeper.

No female rider has ever won the Ipswich Cup but Cheshire, 26, has been given the opportunity by Graeme Nicholson after the Kiwi trainer declared Sir Time Keeper a certain starter in Saturday’s Listed 2150-metre feature.
Australian-born Cheshire moved to New Zealand with her family when she was young and served an apprenticeship there, mostly for Matamata trainer Jim Gibbs.

Since returning to her homeland almost three years ago, Cheshire has been based at the Gold Coast riding for trainer Mark Sims but rarely gets the opportunity to ride in feature races.

“I won a Listed race on Devoted for Gibbsy about five years ago,” she said.

“I won six races on Devoted and he was a very good horse but he had a few problems and couldn’t quite make it as a Group One horse.

“I’ve had a couple of rides in Group Two races and and I’ve been placed a few times at Group Three level over in New Zealand.

“It will be three years this August since I’ve been back in Queensland but I’ve only had two rides in Listed races in that time at Caloundra and Brisbane.

“I’ll be very, very happy if Sir Time Keeper can win the Ipswich Cup but I don’t drink so I won’t be celebrating too much.”

Nicholson said Sir Time Keeper had pulled up well following his sixth to Dariana in the Group One Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm last Saturday and he wasn’t concerned the three-year-old will be backing up for a fifth consecutive week.

Only 12 horses have been nominated for the Ipswich Cup including Sir Time Keeper’s stablemate Sir Slick who was also entered for the Ipswich Mile (1666m).

No rider has been engaged for Sir Slick but Nicholson hopes Michael Walker will be available for either race.

Kiwi jockey David Walsh has returned home after riding Sir Time Keeper in the Queensland Derby and Sir Slick who finished 11th to Crossthestart in the Group Two Brisbane Cup (2400m) at Eagle Farm last Saturday.

Nicholson’s unorthodox training methods have come under fire since arriving in Queensland for the winter with the Kiwi pair.

“I’m here for the winter so why not run them?,” Nicholson said.

“I think Sir Time Keeper might appreciate a female rider for a change so I’m putting Laura on him.

“She’s going to ride him in trackwork all this week to get used to him before Saturday.”

Cheshire believes the criticism of Nicholson’s methods is unfair.

“I know people say he’s an unorthodox trainer but he’s been doing it successfully so it can’t be luck,” she said.

“He’s obviously doing something right.

“I rode Sir Time Keeper in his trackwork this morning and he’s pulled up terrific since the Derby.”

Nicholson has never been to Ipswich but hopes the tighter track will suit his pair.