South Australia has unveiled its team to defend a national apprentice jockey title, starting in Tasmania this week.
The SA line-up for the 2020 National Apprentice Race Series comprises three female riders and two male riders, with each jockey to compete in one designated apprentices-only race across the nation.
South Australia edged out Queensland and Victoria to claim last year’s series, its sixth victory in the event’s 11-year history.
The inclusion of New Zealand and Singapore in this year’s series has expanded the concept to eight teams.
SA will be represented by Sophie Logan, who rides in Hobart this Wednesday, Lachlan Neindorf (Perth), Kayla Crowther (Brisbane), Jerry Chau (Melbourne) and Anna Jordsjo (Adelaide).
Many of Australia’s top apprentice jockeys will take part in the 2020 series, however the SA riders are well-prepared and eager to retain the title, according to Thoroughbred Racing South Australia’s (TRSA) apprentice training supervisor, Briony Moore.
“They are super keen to win it again,” Briony said.
“All our apprentice jockeys strive to get picked to represent South Australia, and they really want to uphold our proud record in this series.”
As reigning champions, South Australia gets to host the final race in the series, to be held at Murray Bridge on Wednesday, April 1. Under the competition’s conditions, points are awarded for the top five placings in each leg of the series.
Briony said team selection is a careful, considered and competitive process.
“We pick it on how they’re going in their riding and how they conduct themselves off the track, their professionalism for example,” she said.
“We try to ensure that during their apprenticeship each rider gets at least one trip away, but it’s not just given to them – they have to earn it.
“That’s why we’ve picked our better riders, we don’t just draw them out of a hat.
“The jockeys love it – it’s a bit like, ‘Who will go this year?’.
“So, if they haven’t been riding well, they know their chances of going are not as high.”
Kayla represented SA in Victoria last year and Briony said the chance to ride interstate can be invaluable for young jockeys.
“Kayla is one of our leading apprentices and she actually won in Victoria last year, on one of Mick Price’s horses,” she said.
“That win in Melbourne gave her a massive kick along. It really helped get her name out there in Victoria.
“The jockeys involved get exposure to other states, and build connections and networks.
“It’s also good for them to have some time with some interstate riders, sit down and talk about their own experiences and their own journeys.
“Plus they benefit by riding against them, particularly the Victorians, who have some of Australia’s top apprentices.”
Kayla will ride at Doomben this year and was particularly excited to land the Queensland leg of the series, to ride in the clockwise direction.
Some of Australia’s most exciting apprentices are taking part in the coming weeks, including boom Queensland jockey Baylee Nothdurft and star WA rider Jade McNaught.
In addition, New Zealand’s top apprentice Kozzi Asano is involved, along with Singapore rider Shafrizal Bin Saleh, who will stay in Adelaide after linking up with local trainers Richard and Chantelle Jolly, and Northern Territory rider Dan Morgan.
“The series has really grown,” Briony said.
“I think the quality of rider we’re getting now is really growing.
“We used to send them just for an experience, but now we send them to win, in a sense. We work on our teams to make sure we’re in it to win it, and to showcase the best of our state.
“For example, I think in January, Lachlan Neindorf was the leading overall rider in South Australia, let alone apprentice rider.”
In the designated races, each competing rider will wear themed coloured pants:
South Australia – red
Western Australia – yellow
Queensland – maroon
Tasmania – green
Victoria – blue
New Zealand – black
Singapore – purple
Northern Territory – brown
For the Murray Bridge race, TRSA has again upped the prizemoney to $25,000 and made the race a leg of the quadrella.
After Wednesday’s race in Tasmania the series moves to WA’s Ascot track on March 11, then Queensland’s Doomben track on March 18, Victoria’s Sandown course on March 25, before finishing at Murray Bridge.
TEAM SA: South Australia’s team to defend the National Apprentice Race Series, Anna Jordsjo, Sophie Logan, Lachlan Neindorf, Jerry Chau and Kayla Crowther, with Teagan Voorham, who will travel to Tasmania as a support rider this week.