In her wildest dreams, Jade McNaught could not have scripted a better 2019.
From fledgling apprentice to record-breaker, by any measure McNaught has come out trumps in a sensational year.
McNaught confirmed she was one of the hottest riding talents in Australia when she booted home six winners at Belmont in September.
Belle Of Liberty, Amillionite, Cockney Crew, Bunker Buster, Neurological and Stageman are horses that forever will be etched in McNaught’s memory.
The 30-year-old’s tally attracted national exposure as she joined William Pike and Frank Treen as the only other jockeys to ride six winners at a WA metropolitan meeting.
Her ride on Neurological in the Listed Farnley Stakes (1400m) gave the mature-aged apprentice her first black-type success, just one week after she partnered Fair Sonari to an upset win in the Coolgardie Cup (1760m)
McNaught is hoping she can launch the new year in similar vein to her past 12-months when she faces the challenge of riding in her first Perth Cup (2400m) on Saturday.
She has responsibility aboard the Lindsey Smith-trained, Prize Catch, who as an $18 chance with Tabtouch is considered to have a big job ahead of him.
The six-year-old ran his best race this preparation two starts ago in the Towton Cup (2200m), but lost admirers after finishing last in Saturday’s A.T.A Stakes (2200m).
His woes only deepened after he copped the second widest gate in the field of 13 at today’s (Tuesday) barrier draw.
But McNaught hasn’t given up on the son of Zoffany, who is looking to improve on his third place behind Star Exhibit in last year’s Perth Cup
She is banking on Smith’s training skills and hopes he has a few aces up his sleeve that can help Prize Catch revive his form.
“I had a look at his Perth Cup run last year which is very good,” McNaught told Tabradio.
“Last week was disappointing, but they are changing a few things up this week and keeping him a lot fresher.
“They are confident there will be improvement from last week.
“It’s not the strongest of fields, but if the horse is at his best and can get a good run it’s definitely not the worst horse in the race.”