Clint Johnston-Porter is the next wave of promising young riders who is striving to make his mark on Western Australian racing. The talented 17-year-old is building a reputation as a dedicated and determined apprentice who recently rode his first Saturday metropolitan winner aboard Mystic Prince for host trainer Adam Durrant and leading owner, Bob Peters. In the latest series on ‘Meet The Apprentices’, Johnston-Porter spoke to Julio Santarelli from Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA).
JS: Clint, what was it like riding you first Saturday city winner on Mystic Prince at Belmont recently?
CP: It gave me a real kick along to ride a winner for Mr Peters and hopefully he can keep putting me on and I can get them over for him.
JS: Because it was a horse for Mr Peters did you feel any pre-race pressure leading in?
CP: I felt heaps of pressure but my boss was a big help and told me not to worry.
JS: Your boss being Adam Durrant?
CP: That’s right and when he said there was no pressure it helped a lot.
JS: You gave the horse every possible chance in running.
CP: He was in the box seat and I rode him pretty much the same way as Willie Pike did the start before.
JS: Can you recall if Mr Peters addressed you after the race?
CP: He said I did a good job and everybody was happy.
JS: What is it like working for someone like Adam?
CP: We have a great relationship; he is very helpful and helps me out in every way.
JS: Have you been with Adam from the commencement of your apprenticeship?
CP: I started off with Graeme Ballantyne but have been with Adam now pushing on for ten months.
JS: He has publicly been very supportive and positive about your future.
CP: I have heard some of his comments and it’s really lifted my confidence a lot.
JS: What type of feedback does he give you?
CP: He is not afraid to discipline me if I do something wrong but he is also supportive when you get things right.
JS: Working with the state’s leading trainer presents many opportunities?
CP: It’s the biggest opportunity I can get and he has a great record with apprentices.
JS: How did your association with Adam come about?
CP: I am close to one of his good friends and through that association I sought him out.
JS: Was it intimidating making that initial contact with Adam?
CP: I was really nervous when we first met but after a while I loosened up and we have become good friends.
JS: Is he a trainer who laces you up with instructions before a race?
CP: He will listen to my input, offer his, but pretty much leaves it up to me.
JS: Can he give you a serve if it’s warranted after a race?
CP: He doesn’t mind that but he is more positive than anything.
JS: You must be pinching yourself working with him?
CP: It’s the best opportunity I will have working with the best trainer who is a gifted horseman and has the best horses.
JS: What has been his best advice to you?
CP: Patience and hard work.
JS: You have been making some real inroads in Kalgoorlie recently?
CP: It’s been really fun but at my first few meetings I couldn’t ride a winner. Since I kicked home a treble they have been flowing.
JS: You are right up there challenging Glenn Smith, Natasha Faithfull and Shaun Meeres for leading rider.
CP: I’ve noticed and I would like to win it but it might be a bit hard.
JS: How much influence does your dad, Clint, also a jockey, have on your career?
CP: He has always been there helping me out and goes through all my rides with me.
JS: What’s it like competing and working alongside your dad?
CP: It’s cool. There are not many kids who get to work and compete with their dad.
JS: What came of that two horse race between you and your dad at Norseman?
CP: I ended up winning but dad thought the weight was the difference.
JS: Was there much banter leading up and post-race?
CP: We were mucking around a bit but he copped it on the chin pretty good.
JS: So you hold bragging rights?
CP: I think I’m in front at the moment, but he rode lots of winners as an apprentice and still has bragging rights and always will.
JS: It sounds to me like you are really enjoying life as a jockey at the moment?
CP: I didn’t want to become a jockey until I was about 14 but it’s the best thing I have ever done and I wouldn’t go back to doing anything else.
JS: Do you socialise with any of the other jockeys away from racing?
CP: I’m pretty close to Randy Tan, Jordan Turner Shaun O’Donnell Jnr, Jake Casey and Joe Azzopardi.
JS: There is a good crop of apprentices in Perth at the moment and that must keep you motivated to keep on improving?
CP: Definitely and it’s good competition to succeed.
JS: Have you set any goals for the next 12 months?
CP: I would like to reduce and start chipping into my claim.
JS: Is there a race in mind that sticks out for you?
CP: I would really like to win the Apprentices’ Cup.
JS: Are you looking forward to the Apprentice awards?
CP: It’s going to be a good night.
JS: Can you take home an award or two?
CP: I would like to win an award but I’m not sure how I will go.