Australia’s most promising apprentice jockeys will converge at Ascot next Wednesday, April 20, for the penultimate heat of the National Apprentice Challenge.
Inaugurated in 2008, the challenge aims to give leading apprentices from across the nation the opportunity to compete with their interstate contemporaries.
The 2016 edition of the series, which comprises five heats, commenced at Sandown (Melbourne) and then headed to Doomben (Queensland) and Launceston (Tasmania).
Tasmania currently leads the challenge with 13 points, followed by Victoria (12), Western Australia (12), Queensland (10), and South Australia (7).
The final heat will be staged in South Australia at Murray Bridge on May 4.
The interstate riders to compete at Ascot include:
Kyle Maskiell, (Tasmania): Maskiell, son of former premier rider, Stephen Maskiell, is leading apprentice in Tasmania. The 16-year-old finished the 2015-16 season with 22 wins at a strike rate of 17%.
Ben Allen, (Victoria): Widely regarded as one of the rising stars of the Victorian riding ranks, Allen burst on to the scene last April at Mornington when he posted a maiden win at just his second ride.
Emily Finnegan, (South Australia): The 22-year-old, indentured to leading trainer, Phillip Stokes, recently won the Listed $100,000 Cinderella Stakes on Moshki at Morphettville, her first black-type victory.
Sarah Eilbeck, (Queensland): Eilbeck is enjoying an outstanding strike rate on the provincial circuit and after being granted her riding license in February, she landed her maiden city win at her first ride.
Western Australian apprentice jockey’s Clint Johnston-Porter, Aaron Mitchell, Jake Casey, Randy Tan, Jordan Turner, Kate Witten, Kate Fitzgerald, Casey Hunter, Fiona Bell and Tayla Stone will fly the flag for their home state.
Johnston-Porter, Casey and Tan represented Western Australia in the first three heats at Sandown, Queensland and Launceston.
Johnston-Porter, indentured to Perth’s leading trainer, Adam Durrant, is currently WA‘s leading apprentice with 30 city wins.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli