Azzopardi Replaces Azzopardi


As one Azzopardi leaves another is ready to come back in.

While Joe Azzopardi left Perth on Monday to fulfil a riding contract in Singapore, his younger sister, Chloe, is returning to the saddle.

In 2014 Azzopardi took a break from racing after she suffered the scourge of many jockeys-the battle against increasing weight.

What was originally to be a short spell away from racing to recharge and reenergise her passion for the sport, had extended to five years.

The grind of wasting, the weight woes and the associated pressures of race riding took a toll on Azzopardi and she wanted out.

But although Azzopardi left racing, racing never really left her and with a new found maturity she is raring to go again.

On Wednesday at Ascot, the 22-year-old will dust off her saddle once more and return to what she loves and knows best.

“I’m very excited to be coming back,” Azzopardi told The Races WA.

“I’m older, wiser, healthier, fitter and my weight is under control.

“I think in the longer term the break will make me a better rider.

“I haven’t had to be restrictive with my weight and my body is now ready to ride again.

“I just want to ride to the best of my ability.”

If Azzopardi needed to draw on inspiration in her comeback then she didn’t have to look too far for a role model.

After completing his apprenticeship in 2015, her brother Joe, has established a reputation as one of Perth’s most accomplished riders.

His career highlights include dual Group 3 wins in the Champion Fillies Stakes (1600m) and Gimcrack Stakes (1100m).

He also has 13 Listed wins to his name, the latest being Jedaffair in the Natasha Stakes (2200m) two weeks back.

Last season he booted home 32 winners to finish fourth in the jockey’s premiership behind William Pike.

Azzopardi’s three month license in Singapore is his first riding stint overseas.

“He absolutely has been an inspiration,” Chloe Azzopardi said.

“I’m so proud of what he has been able to achieve.

“He is always helping and offering me the best encouragement.

“I’m sure he is going to kick butt overseas and do everyone proud back home.”

Azzopardi takes two rides for host trainer, Simon Miller, in her comeback, Soy Tan Rapido in race six and Sigil in the final event on the eight race card.

She is hoping she can cap a fairy-tale return on Sigil, who is looking to finish ahead of his rivals for the first time in nearly three years.

“I’m excited to be on him,” Azzopardi said.

“I ride him every day and it’s something special.

“He is a bit of a non-winner, but it will be fun.

“I’m excited by the future and can’t wait to get back.”

Julio Santarelli