Friday, 6 July 2012
: Canberra Apprentice Premiership leader Lester Grace has left the door ajar in the title race with the young hoop engaged at Mornington this Sunday instead of Thoroughbred Park.
While seven races are programmed at Thoroughbred Park on Sunday, the current leader of the Canberra Apprentices Premiership will instead head south to Mornington for just the one ride.
“I don't have any this meet because I am obligated to ride for David Hayes at Mornington on the same day,” said the young jockey.
Grace is apprenticed to Hayes although is currently in the middle of a three-month loan to Queanbeyan trainer Neville Layt.
Grace's purple patch at Canberra has spanned over the last three meetings at the capital, starting on the May 25th meeting when he saluted in his final three rides of the day.
The 17-year-old backed up that trio of winners with another pair in the June 8th meeting and had his apprentice claim reduced to 2kg as a subsequence, but that did not slow him down in the latest meeting where he claimed a winning treble.
"I'm very happy at the minute,” Grace said.
“The trainers are helping me out big time, and I'm getting the results for them, so it's working out well.
"When you have a little bit more confidence and the trainers show confidence in you, they're happy to put you on the quality horses which need that claim."
After winning eight of his last 13 starts at Thoroughbred Park, Grace's winning success-rate at Canberra now sits at 33.3%.
Only Brad Pengelly who has won three times at Canberra from six rides this season possesses a stronger winning success-rate.
Grace now sits two wins clear of Canberra based apprentice Kayla Nisbet in the 2011/12 Canberra Apprentices Premiership and is confident he can take out the esteemed prize.
"My main goal is to just keep the trainers happy and keep performing the way I am, and the rest will take care of itself," he said.
Although his absence this Sunday could allow Nisbet to close the gap, Grace confirmed that he will be riding in the following meeting on July 20, which will be the final program scheduled at Canberra this season.
While Grace's form has been impressive at Thoroughbred Park of late, he is still racking up winners elsewhere.
Of his last 25 rides in the country he has saluted the judge five times at a success-rate of 20%.
The youngster has also recently been thrown into the metropolitan arena, placing on one occasion from his four starts to date and finishing outside the top-five just once.
Grace has been booked for seven rides at Nowra today and will ride the Gregory Hickman-trained Palasport
tomorrow at Rosehill who is currently quoted at $21 with TAB Sportsbet Fixed Odds.