For Zephen Johnston-Porter, ever since he was young, he knew he wanted to become a jockey.
With racing flowing through his veins, it’s no surprise that riding in races was a personal ambition.
After being given the final tick of approval from stewards last Friday, Johnston-Porter’s dream has turned to reality.
After 89 trial rides, the 17-year-old is the latest addition to Western Australia’s riding ranks and he’s eager to add to his family’s racing heritage.
Johnston-Porter carries a name that is well know in Perth racing. His dad, Clint Porter, was a former jockey and older brother, Clint Johnston-Porter, is currently rated one of the state’s top hoops.
Bubbling with excitement ahead of his riding debut, Johnston-Porter said he couldn’t wait to get stuck into competitive racing.
“I’ve always had the ambition to be a jockey,” Johnston-Porter told The Races WA.
“I guess the whole family thing helped me through that to get the love for it.
“It’s been that way since I was a little kid and it’s an absolute dream come true.
“I’m just so happy that I’ve finally reached the stage to race ride.”
Johnston-Porter said having his brother as a role model and mentor could only help his riding education.
Clint Johnston-Porter commenced his apprenticeship as a 16-year-old and had his first ride at Leinster in 2014.
Two years later under the guidance of leading trainer, Adam Durrant, he was crowned WA’s champion apprentice jockey.
Affectionately dubbed the ‘Hyphenator’, Johnston-Porter has just gone past 600 winners in the saddle with 25 at stakes level.
In January he booted home a career-best five winners at Ascot, highlighted by Minsk Moment in the $100,000 Easingwold Stakes (1400m).
Johnston-Porter (Zephen) says if he can get remotely close to his brother’s achievements, he’ll forge a successful career in his own right.
“Having Clint ride definitely gave me more motivation,” Johnston-Porter said.
“I’m so happy to see my brother’s success and I hope I can live up to his standards.
“He’s really helpful with everything I need and I only have to ask and he’ll help me.”
Following in the footsteps of his brother, Johnston-Porter’s apprenticeship will be overseen by Durrant.
Perth’s multiple training champion said Johnston-Porter shows similar traits to his older sibling.
“He’s very similar to his brother,” Durrant said.
“He’s probably a little more outgoing than Clint because Clint was a bit shy and reserved.
“He’s a very good little horseman, he’s very relaxed, sometimes a little too relaxed.
“But that’s what you need to develop into the better riders.
“The horses are very kind for him which is important.”