Lots riding on cup day
HISTORY will repeat itself today when 16-year-old apprenticeGabrielle Coleman rides out on Special Savings for Danny Bowen in the Ballina Boxing Day Cup.
Ms Coleman is the daughter of six-time Northern Rivers Racing Association champion jockey Darron Coleman, and will have her first professional rides for the man who her father started with when he was 16.
Coleman Snr and Mr Bowen have forged a successful partnership over more than two decades, combining for 104 winners, and Mr Bowen is suitably chuffed to have the progeny of his leading man in thesaddle.
“In this game, people fall out over one bad ride,” Mr Bowen said.
“So it is quite a thrill for me to have thesecond generation of my good mate come on board.
“It will be quite emotional to see her riding after watching her grow up. She has definitely shown us she can ride.”
Coleman Snr will be right alongside his daughter throughout her big day, riding in all four races in which Gabrielle is booked.
And the winner of 389 races will be happy to see his girl punch one home, even if it means missing out on adding to his own tally.
“If there is a photo finish I hope she gets the nod,” Coleman Snr said.
“I still remember my first day at the races and to get that first winner is a great thrill.”
Father and daughter will vie for bragging rights in the feature race, the Boxing Day Cup, with apprenticeMotoki Okada to ride the top weight Cedar Manor, also for Mr Bowen.
The Group Two winning gelding was to be ridden by Coleman Jnr, but when the handicapper allotted the former star 59.5kg, the plans changed.
“Gabrielle is only 45kg and claiming 4kg,” MrBowen said.
“We could have put her on, but there wouldn’t be enough lead in the jockeys’ room to make up the weight.”
Coleman Jnr has been looking forward to this day since she began riding 12 months ago, and while nervous now, she is confident that the butterflies will disappear once she settles aboard her first mount.
“I try not to think about the nerves too much, but I know once I get legged on I will be in my comfort zone,” she said.