First TAB win for apprentice
LIGHTNING-FAST wits, a thirst for winning and the desire to improve.
That is Brooke Ainsworth's recipe for a successful life in the saddle, after chalking up her first TAB meeting victory at Lismore yesterday.
The 20-year-old rode Thomas's Train to success in the $15,000 Lismore Cup Calcutta 25/9 Maiden Handicap (1200m), triumphing by a half-a-head from StrawberryChampane.
Apprentice jockey Ainsworth, who is fast making a name for herself on the racing circuit, said keeping a cool head was crucial in such a close finish.
"It is split-second decisions," she said. "You have to keep your wits about you.
"I like everything about racing. I like the environment, travelling to different places and the great people you meet.
"What do I like most of all? Riding winners."
Beaudesert-based Ainsworth, whose father Ted is a trainer and former jockey, took up riding after leaving school in Year 10.
She has now ridden about 60 races since gaining her licence a few months ago, and is now aiming to obtain her Queensland provincial riding licence.
Ainsworth, who has about 15 wins to her name, said her goal was to claim a premiership victory at the prestigious Gold Coast or Queensland tracks.
She said life in the jockey's room was always pleasant - with an undercurrent of competitiveness.
"It's quite friendly in there," she said. "We get along, but you don't give away your race tactics.
"Once you get to the barriers, you mean business."
Ainsworth said keeping that hunger for success was crucial for a jockey.
"You have got to be competitive in this game," she said.
"There is a lot of competition - that is natural - but that keeps things good and healthy."
Ainsworth thanked everyone who had helped her through her apprenticeship.