Happy winners: Jockey Gabrielle Coleman (right) with strapper Ebony Kerr (left), Smart Advice and trainer Terry McCarthy at the Lismore Turf Club on Saturday.
Happy winners: Jockey Gabrielle Coleman (right) with strapper Ebony Kerr (left), Smart Advice and trainer Terry McCarthy at the Lismore Turf Club on Saturday. Sammy-Jo Coleman

Coleman joins winners' circle

IT took an agonising 17 rides spread over five months but at 3.20pm on Saturday, apprentice jockey Gabrielle Coleman had her first raceday winner.

And she did it on the same piece of turf as her champion father Darron did 23 years ago.

Four pins in a broken hand and a change of stables were among the obstacles that the 16-year-old overcame to record her happiest day at the track.

“It’s a great feeling; you can’t really describe it,” Coleman said.

“It is what you work so hard for, so to prove to yourself and everyone else that you can do it is just amazing.”

And fitting that the young hoop would ride her first winner for her new master, Ballina’s Terry McCarthy. After starting her apprenticeship with the powerful Danny Bowen stable, Coleman made the switch in search of more time in the saddle.

Bowen has Coleman snr as his stable rider, uses Peter Graham regularly, and is master to gun apprentice Motoki Okada, leaving Coleman jnr fourth in line. Hence her move.

Patience was the hallmark of Coleman’s maiden victory. With a four-way go for the lead, Coleman showed a cool head to settle midfield on a track notorious for favouring the leaders. But when a gap opened along the rail, Coleman drove Smart Advice through to be the first horse to come from behind and win on the day.

Past the post, dad Darron was the first to congratulate his girl.

“He just galloped past and said ‘Good on ya, Gab’,” Gabrielle said. “That was a great moment because he is the one that got me here.”

Coleman will now serve a two-meeting suspension for a careless ride at Grafton on Monday but can be booked for rides through her manager Errol Jones on 0402-825110.



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