Courtney Gravener Going Great Guns

No apprentice is rising through the NSW riding ranks quicker than Canberra-based Courtney Gravener.

Courtney Gravener Going Great Guns

No apprentice is rising through the NSW riding ranks quicker than Canberra-based Courtney Gravener.

A career high four wins at the Braidwood Cup meeting last Saturday took Gravener’s career tally of wins 40 including 34 this season made up of 29 from only 145 rides in NSW plus five wins in Canberra.

Her first quartet at Braidwood capped a triumphant summer riding at feature non-TAB meetings in the south east of NSW where she has landed trebles at the Bombala, Adaminaby and Cooma Cup meetings.

She won the Cooma Cup before landing the biggest win of her career to date at the Sapphire Coast on February 3 when she won the rich Bega Cup on Appoint Percy Horseform for Canberra trainer Luke Pepper.

Gravener is now among the top 15 riders on the NSW country premiership and is lying third behind Wendy Peel (44 wins) and Kayla Nisbet (37.5) among the leading female riders in NSW.

Her winning strike rate of 20 percent is bettered only by the premiership leaders Greg Ryan (23%) and Andrew Gibbons (21.6%) on the NSW country table.

Gravener, like many riders in the current era, is a mature age apprentice after making a late start to her riding career.

The 30-year-old spent 10 years working for the late Bede Murray before starting her professional apprenticeship with Canberra trainer Norm Gardener.

She began riding in races 12 months ago under her maiden name of Courtney Gillman before her marriage in May to Rhain Gravener.

Gravener was crowned the ‘Queen of Braidwood’ after winning four of the six races last Saturday for four different stables - Aaron Clarke (Braidwood), Ron Weston and John Nisbet (Canberra), Emma and Lucy Longmire (Goulburn) and her boss Norm Gardner (Canberra).

Riding at Braidwood for the first time, she also finished third in the Braidwood Cup aboard the topweight Beau Tirage Horseform behind Boys Day Out Horseform (Aaron Sweeney) and Janis Horseform (Mel Kinney).

Sweeney’s win on the Gratz Vella-trained Boys Day Out made the former Irish jockey only the second male rider to win the feature race in a decade.

Sweeney, who rode a treble at his first Braidwood Cup meeting last year, joined Pat Murphy (2015 Failed Approach) as the only two male riders to win the race since 2009.

The girls have dominated since Kayla McEwen’s win on Gelderbelle in 2009. She has been followed by Analise King (2011 Sebony), Kayla Smart (2012 Sebony), Kayla Cross (2013 Acta Non Verba), Mel Kinney (2016 Jayko), Tracy O’Hara (2017 Klisstra), Chelsea McFarlane (2018 Ultima Chance) and Gravener.

The Braidwood Cup meetings in 2010 and 2014 were abandoned due to weather conditions.

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