“Winx got four, Raquel Clark got five,” was the call from Terry McAuliffe when Debt Collector hit the line in the last of the day at Morphettville giving apprentice Raquel Clark a haul of five winners for the day.
While there is no doubt the wonder mares four straight Cox Plate victories deserved top billing on Saturday, the biggest story of the day in South Australia was definitely Clark’s dominance on the Morphettville card.
Clark started the day with a narrow defeat in Race 1 but all that changed in Race 3 with a confident win on the Richard and Chantelle Jolly trained Heaven’s Deal before making it a race to race double on Dennis O’Leary’s Daktari. Nowhere near finished for the day, Clark rode the last three winners on the card starting with He is Golden, then aboard the smart Sue Jaensch mare Amberdi before finishing off the day with a win on the well backed Debt Collector.
“I definitely didn’t expect to have five winners at all on Saturday. I knew I had a few good chances on the card and I just went out there like normal and tried to ride my best.”
It’s that attitude that has seemed to work wonders for Clark recently with the hoop now collecting 14 winners this month from 44 starts at a super impressive 32% strike rate. Her haul of five now puts her second in the State Premiership with 33 wins while she also sits in second spot on the Metropolitan standings with 13 wins.
Clark’s riding has gone to the next level this month and she says a bit of time away from the saddle during a recent suspension was the turning point to her recent good form.
“I was going well before my suspension but this has been the best run I’ve ever been on. I was suspended for three weeks and that break allowed me to have a good freshen up back home (in Tasmania) and made me want to work a lot harder when I got back to work.”
The hard work most definitely has been paying off but Clark also puts some of her recent success down to the support she’s had from her bosses and other trainers.
“I’ve been lucky that I’ve been riding for some really in-form trainers and my stable (Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas) has had some really good horses in form too.”
“Sue Jaensch has been a big supporter and I was lucky to win the Murray Bridge Cup on Von Costa Glass for her, while the Jolly’s are also in great form and my boss, Leon has some great horses.”
It’s been a pretty successful season for Clark, taking over the reigns as the main stable jockey for her bosses Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas. She’s has 40 rides for the stable for eight wins and 16 placings for a 20% win and 60% place strike rate. Clark is relishing the role and is more than happy to do what’s needed for stable success.
“I’m really committed to the success of the team. Leon’s been fantastic to me and at the moment I’m just happy to go where he wants me to. His runners are in great form and I’m just happy to be part of his team.”
While she’s on fire in South Australia, Clark is hoping to get back to her home state of Tasmania and partner up with one of her favourite horses in the coming weeks in the Listed Newmarket Handicap.
“If the opportunity presents itself for me to get back to Tasmania, I’d love to be able to ride I’m Wesley in the Newmarket. We won it together last year and while it’s a bit tougher this year as he’s carrying more weight I’m hoping to get back home and back up last year’s win.”
Another Newmarket win is only one of Clark’s goals going forward. She due to finish her time as an apprentice in June next year but before then she’s got plenty more big victories in sight.
“I’d love to get some nice rides over spring and the Adelaide Carnival next year. I really want to win a Group race and hopefully I can get on some in-form horses and win a few Listed and Group races before my apprenticeship is up.”