16-year-old apprentice Gabrielle Coleman started her race-riding career at Ballina on Boxing Day where she competed against her father, six times Northern Rivers premier jockey, Darron Coleman.
16-year-old apprentice Gabrielle Coleman started her race-riding career at Ballina on Boxing Day where she competed against her father, six times Northern Rivers premier jockey, Darron Coleman. Doug Eaton

Gabrielle's career takes off

CHAMPION Ballina jockey Darron Coleman may have taken out the Ballina Boxing Day Cup, but it was his daughter Gabrielle, whose racing career jumped out of the gates with winning potential.

The 16-year-old apprentice jockey placed in two of her first five starts at Ballina.

She came second riding Melfive in race two, beaten a length by Pins of Fury, and fleetingly smelt victory after protesting against the winner which was subsequently dismissed.

Coleman Snr said he was nervous about his daughter’s debut in the feature race, the Bettortrader Boxing Day Cup, but butterflies didn’t stop him from winning the race on the even money favourite In Phuket, with Gabrielle finishing third on Special Savings.

The father-daughter team, which have their sights set on the Newrybar Cup in Ballina on New Year’sDay, fostered a healthy, humorous rivalry.

“Good on him. He hasn’t got too many more years before I’m beating him,” joked Gabrielle of her father’s Bettortrader Cup victory.

In the race where the 16-year-oldapprentice jockey finished second riding Melfive, she finished ahead of her six-time Northern Rivers Racing Association champion father who finished in fifth place.

Her master,Ballina trainer Danny Bowen, came away with another win by Waterbury in the fifth race ridden by up-and-coming apprentice jockey Motoki Okada.

Despite her father’s watchfulguidance Gabrielle said she rode her own race.

“I didn’t even think of dad. I just concentrated on my own race,” she said.



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