If early impressions count for anything, star Perth apprentice jockey Luke Campbell has made a big splash in Melbourne.
Campbell is on a three month loan to top trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace and has hit the ground running with multiple winners.
Campbell took just seven rides to make his mark in the east after guiding home the Nick Ryan-trained Capital Express at Pakenham.
He has since ticked off mini milestone wins at Moe, Caulfield, Flemington, Sale and a double at Mornington on June 21.
Someone not surprised by Campbell’s early success is his Perth mentor, WA Racing Hall Of Fame member, Neville Parnham.
Parnham has overseen the 21-year-old’s progression since he decided to fulfill an ambition and become an apprentice jockey last year.
Campbell turned his hand to riding after deciding to forgo an apprenticeship as an air-conditioning and refrigeration mechanic.
Parnham said he’s getting a thrill out of Campbell’s big start in Melbourne.
“We keep in contact, have spoken a couple of times and exchange text messages regularly,” Parnham said.
“It was the right time for him to go, it was a no-brainer in the winter time when people want to use claims.
“The support he’s receiving outside the Maher and Eustace stable is quite incredible.
“He’s clearly making an impact and people like him.
“He speaks very well which goes a long way.
“I’ve had a couple of chats on what people will expect from him as a jockey.
“It’s given him a good outlook on the racing industry over east.
“If you impress people you get the opportunities.
“He’s made a good impression.
“He’s done well and I’m really pleased for him.”
Campbell said he’s unsure if he’ll remain in Melbourne after his three month stint, but his skill, determination and work ethic has won him new fans.
He’s fast closing in on a century of winners since booting home his first on Super Teroitoa for trainer Colin Webster at York 15-months ago.
Campbell can follow the same path as Damien Oliver and Damian Lane who left Perth to carve out successful careers in Melbourne.
Oliver, one of Australia’s most accomplished jockeys with 128 Group 1 wins, played a key role in enticing Campbell to move to Melbourne.
Campbell insists he’ll let the next couple of months play out if he returns home to Perth for the Ascot carnival or commit to Melbourne more permanently.
Parnham doesn’t think Campbell will be back home soon.
“I’m pleased with the way he’s been accepted,” Parnham said.
“I’m probably expecting he’s going to stay; but anything can happen.
“You can lose that extra half a kilo claim and it can make all the difference.
“Hopefully he’ll get himself a little bit of a following by then and connect with stables who will continue to put him on.”