It was a big day for apprentices on the Parks circuit at Morphettville last Saturday, with claiming juniors taking five of the nine races.
West Australian-bred but Victorian-based apprentice Fred W. Kersley led the way with a double, with both his winners trained by David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, to whom Kersley is on loan.
Kersley opened his account on Mihany ($2.30), who was untroubled leading all the way first up in the benchmark 90 Holdfast Insurance Handicap (1400m), with only two rivals to beat.
He completed his double in the benchmark 75 John O’Neil OAM Handicap (1250m) on last-start Cranbourne winner Blue Tycoon ($2.40 favourite), one of five city winners on the day for Victorian stallion Written Tycoon.
Another ex-WA apprentice, Jordan Turner, earlier came from near to last to score on Bondeiger ($2.30 favourite) for his master, Darren Weir, in the benchmark 82 over 2400 metres.
Two-kilo claimer Chris Caserta, who has been splitting his riding commitments between SA and Victoria, won the benchmark 70 James Boags Premium Handicap (1000m) on $3 favourite White Kaps for local trainer Gordon Richards.
Raquel Clark was the other junior to score, taking the benchmark 70 Schweppes Handicap (1300m) on Joy Flipper ($5.50) for Strathalbyn-based Brian Mueller.
The young guns kept up the good work at Sunday’s Naracoorte Cup meeting, with doubles to Emily Finnegan and Justin Huxtable.
Senior rider Joe Bowditch also landed a double at Naracoorte, as did Mt Gambier trainer Peter Hardacre.
Speaking of apprentices, former Lindsay Park junior Owen Ridge doesn’t get many rides these days but made the most of his only engagement at last Saturday’s Morphettville meeting, winning the three-year-old maiden (1250m) on the Stuart Gower-trained first emergency, Port Vale ($3.60).
Port Vale was Ridge’s first city winner since 2006, when he rode Cullen Bay to victory at the now abandoned Victoria Park racecourse.
It was Ridge’s first winner anywhere since Crystal Moment at Gawler on September 7, 2016, although he’d only had 24 rides in the interim.
Ridge had Port Vale in a prominent position throughout and the Master of Design gelding, who was second up, surged clear to break his maiden status at start number five.
A pair for Paul
Senior hoop Paul Gatt shared the riding honours with Fred Kersley at Morphettville, notching a running double to move into third place on the premiership table behind Jamie Kah and Todd Pannell.
Gatt opened his account when the Matthew Seyers-trained $1.80 favourite Itz Invincible led all the way to take out the benchmark 90 Kevin Tracey Handicap (1000m).
Riding for Caulfield trainer Clinton McDonald, Gatt completed his double when another on-pacer, Star Fortune ($4), took out the benchmark 75 Eckermann Conveyancers Handicap (1550m).
A stalwart bows out
SA racing lost one of its finest former administrators with the passing last week of Malcolm Fricker.
A former amateur jockey and keen racehorse owner, Fricker was a committee member of the Adelaide Racing Club before being elected to the SA Jockey Club committee on the amalgamation of the three city clubs.
He served as chairman of the SAJC from 1986 for six years.