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Emerging riders on song ahead of Northern Carnival

3 minute read

The younger generation of apprentice jockeys are certain to be in keen demand for the upcoming North Queensland carnival after their exploits in the saddle over the past few weeks.

The "claimers" posted an impressive tally of winners at Townsville, Toowoomba, Rockhampton and Bowen as the winter carnival lead-ups began in earnest.

Jake Molloy, who claims three kgs, headed the list with a treble at Toowoomba on Saturday night after a polished winning ride at Townsville on Thursday.

While, two kg claimer Tahlia Fenlon landed a double on the first day of the Rockhampton carnival on Saturday.

Leading Queensland apprentice, the 19-year-old Jasmine Cornish, took her overall record to near the 100 wins in only 16 months of riding with victory on So You Dream at Townsville.

Recent Burdekin Cup champion Kelsey Lenton landed another winner for her master Georgie Holt at Bowen on Saturday.

Probably the happiest among the youngsters was 19-year-old Cody Collis, who picked up a winner with the Joanna Hassett-trained Bakuhatsu at Townsville on Thursday. 

Previously trained by the father-son Edmonds duo at the Gold Coast, Bakuhatsu was first-up since a good fourth at the Gold Coast on a wet track on March 26.

Hassett paid $8000 for the four-year-old gelding by Spirit Of Boom and was a delighted trainer after the well-backed top-weight scrambled home from the favourite Kinky Dreams - which was ridden by Cornish - after a stirring battle over the final 200 metres.

The sister-in-law of jockey Jeffrey Felix, Hassett, has been around horses for much of her life, including training for the past 12 years.

"I've got seven in work at the moment and I"ve got a day job as well so it keeps me busy and I couldn't do it without the help of my sister Jenny and Jeffrey," Hassett said.

"I'm so pleased for young Cody; he rode the horse perfectly and showed good strength over the last 100 metres to get him home by a half-head despite the five kg difference in the weights.

"The horse is pretty highly strung but he's gradually settling in and I reckon we can pick up a 1100 or 1200 metre race over the carnivals."

Collis, who was born in Brisbane, has been an apprentice for two years and is currently attached to the Townsville satellite stable of Tom Button, under the mentorship of Brad Hearn.

"This is fantastic," Collis said after his debut win at what he described as "headquarters"

"I can't thank Joanna enough for putting me on and the horse who was as game as could be when we ranged up alongside Jasmine.

"I wasn't sure I had got there because the rail was out a fair bit and I wasn't sure of the angle.

"I want to give a big shout out to Brad and Tom of course for giving me this opportunity.

"I'm really looking forward to the next few weeks of the carnivals.

"We've got ten horses in work up here and I can ride at 51 kgs so I reckon the sky's the limit."

Cornish made up for her narrow defeat with a heady ride on outsider So You Dream in the main event, the Open Handicap over 1400 metres for Bowen trainer Andrew Cameron.

She had ridden the horse to a good third behind Tennessee Boy a fortnight previously and made good use of his barrier six to travel near the lead and put the race beyond doubt at the 300 metres mark when she dashed away to a three length lead. 

Cameron said he would aim the seven-year-old So You Think gelding at the Cleveland Bay Handicap next month but would consider tackling a mile as the horse had won over that distance previously.

Also at Cluden on Thursday, former Sydney galloper Dio D'Oro gave Townsville trainer Matthew McGuire another slashing first-up win in the Open 1000 metres. 

Dio D'Oro had previously won first-up late last year and McGuire believes the six-year-old gelding will be a leading contender for carnival honours over the sprinting distances.

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