A girl in demand

SHE’S the most sought after young apprentice in the region and will have a full book of eight rides at Tamworth today to prove it.

Nineteen-year-old Courtney van der Werf, who only moved to Australia early last year, has taken all before her in recent weeks.

At Quirindi on Boxing day she rode a double, including the Murrurundi Cup winning Flash Attack for Scott Thompson.

At Inverell on New Year’s Day she rode a treble, including 40-1 Inverell Cup winner Tully Bolero for Armidale trainer Frank Tanner.

Those wins elevated her to the top of the Hunter and North West Racing Association riding premierships.

She had been leading the apprentices’ premiership but she now leads Australia’s winningest jockey, Robert Thompson, by three wins, 28-25, in the senior HNWRA jockey premiership.

Today she has eight rides at Tamworth, riding for a variety of trainers including John Simpson (Waggabilla), Shafali Lad (Mark Mason), Witchy Women (Scott Thompson), A Long Way (Leon Davies), White Stocking (Jane Clement), Zumba Magic (Peter Bloomfield) and two for her master, Scone trainer Greg Bennett – Hezasmartypants and Mighty Bender.

However, the little Kiwi apprentice could be leaving Scone.

She could  move to Brisbane and  former Tamworth trainer Barry Lockwood, who relocated north late last year.

Bennett is trying to talk her into staying at Scone for the time being, believing she has more opportunities coming her way from Sydney trainers looking for talented young 3kg claiming apprentices.

Today the teenage Kiwi rides White Stocking in the feature race of the day, the $15,000 Bath Stewart Associates Benchmark 65 Handicap (1200m) at Tamworth.

A 10-1 chance White Stocking is trained by Jane Clement at 

Bendemeer.

The five-year-old daughter of Youthful Legs is raced by a syndicate including stalwart racing official John Clift.

The chestnut mare has done well with Clement and was a winner at Armidale three starts back.

Last time out she was a good third to the Sue Grills-trained Monashee Woods at Tamworth on Christmas Eve.

A lightweight chance, she will have 52.5kg after Courtney van der Werf’s claim.

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