The oldest apprentice jockey in Australia, the Central Coasts Jenny Duggan who recently returned to race riding after a four year break steered home her second winner in two days at Newcastle Racecourse on Saturday.
Duggan has given birth to two children since she was forced to put her apprentice on hold to undergo a knee reconstruction in 2014. The popular in her ‘late 30’s’ apprentice had her first ride back after four years at Scone two months back.
On Friday at Dubbo, Duggan was successful on the Gosford trained Written In Vain. Twenty-four hours later the one-time Swedish apprentice reunited with Warwick Farm trainer Bjorn Baker to land $12 chance African Rainbow a two-length winner in the 1400 metre Maiden Plate at Newcastle.
Duggan was over the moon at returning to scale, punching the air and overcome with excitement. “How good is that. It has been so long and to ride two winners in 24 hours I am so excited. I rode two hundred winners from 2011 to 2014 including 20 Metropolitan and 66 Provincial winners. I had the knee reconstruction in 2014 and when I was fit again I was to resume riding. However, I fell pregnant and gave birth to our son Max. In 2016 I was riding trackwork and I fell pregnant again. This time I gave birth to Sebastian. I rode winners for Bjorn Baker up to 2014, so I called him on Wednesday and asked if he could give me some rides. He said I could ride African Rainbow at Newcastle on Saturday and here we are.” Duggan said. She is apprenticed to Gosford trainer Adam Duggan and the lady is married to Duggan’s brother Ben.
Newcastle’s dynamic duo Kris Lees and Aaron Bullock combined two winners at Newcastle and both are on target for significant milestones. The pair opened the day with filly Rebel Cry the odds of favourite in the 3-year-old Maiden Handicap. The daughter of Winx’s sire Street Cry always had the race in control and bolted in by 4.35 lengths. Later in the day the pair produced a win for 3-year-old colt Brabinger, who is a son of Australia’s premier sire Snitzel, in a 1200 metre Maiden Handicap event. There was little confidence with bookmakers, however, the $7 chance was given a pearl of a ride by Bullock and he won by 2.5 lengths. Brabinger is raced by his breeder Bob Hannon a long-time client of the late Max Lees and son of Kris.
Lees also saddled up 2-year-old Graff to win at Hawksbury. Following Saturdays racing, Lees has trained 127.5 winners for the 2017-2018 season with three months remaining. Last season was Lees best ever with 161.5 winners. Bullock headed to Tamworth yesterday after riding his 80th winner for the season on Saturday.
Newcastle trainer Ben Smith ‘good news week’ continued when I Am Special, a recent addition to his stable scored the narrowest win of the day in the 900 metre Class 2 Handicap. I Am Special hit the ground running and young in form apprentice Chris Williams utilized the mares natural speed. The winner held off a late charge from Kris Lees Decepatcon to win by a nose. Two days earlier Smith received the news that Group 1 mare In Her Time has secured a spot in the in the world’s richest race on turf, The Everest in October.